A 19-year-old woman was injured after falling approximately 80 feet down a steep slope on Brown Mountain. The woman was hiking with two friends when the accident happened at about noon Monday (June 6th). Jerry Kiffer is with the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad.
“They were transitioning a fairly steep section to get down into the saddle between Ward and Brown mountains. A 19-year-old female lost her footing and fell about 80 feet down a fairly steep cliff face. It wasn’t vertical, but fairly steep.”
Kiffer says the hikers had a cell phone but couldn’t get a signal to call for help immediately.
“They didn’t have any cell contact where they were at, so one of the members ran down to their vehicle parked at the Brown Mountain Trailhead. She drove down Brown Mountain until she got cell phone contact and called 911.”
Kiffer says KVRS received a report from Alaska State Troopers at about 2:30 pm Monday. He says because they were not sure of the extent of the woman’s injuries or how easily it would be to reach her location, they dispatched a helicopter with medical and mountain rescue crews. Kiffer says the helicopter was able to land within 100 yards of the victim who was found in stable condition.
“She had cuts and bruises, some injuries to her face, her lower lip, abrasions to her left leg and some fairly significant soft tissue injury to her left knee.”
The woman was taken by helicopter to the Temsco field and then transported by ambulance to PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center.
Kiffer encourages hikers to carry SPOT locator beacons. The device sends out GPS coordinates and an emergency signal when activated. He estimates several hours passed between the time of Monday’s accident and the time emergency crews were able to respond.
“They think from time of injury to the time that the rescue crew got there was about two-and-a-half hours. The time we were notified (KVRS) to the time we were on scene was a little over a half an hour. The use of a beacon would have probably reduced the amount of time they had to wait.”
SPOT locator beacons can be borrowed for free. They are available at the Alaska State Troopers Office, the Ketchikan Public Library and the visitors’ center at Berth 2.