A 22-year-old man spending his first summer in Ketchikan was badly injured the night of May 31st when he fell about 70 feet from a tree.
Sean Ruppee was attending a beach party with friends at Mountain Point. His close friend, Travis Carter, says a Western hemlock tree nearby was an easy one to climb, and Ruppee had been goofing off in the tree for a while.
Carter says Ruppee called out that he was coming down, and that’s when his friend fell, landing on the back of his head. Ruppee was taken to Ketchikan Medical Center, and then was medevac’d to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Ruppee is recovering. Carter says his friend is moving his limbs and talking, but still has significant physical therapy ahead.
Ruppee had been working as a guide at Alaska Canopy Adventures, a popular summertime zipline tour. Carter has worked there for the past three seasons.
Carter says it had rained the evening of the accident, so the tree likely was a little slippery. In addition, there had been some alcohol consumed before the accident.