A 16-year-old hiker was rescued Sunday morning after spending the night on Deer Mountain. Chris John of the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad says KVRS received report of the missing boy about 11 p.m. Saturday. He says the boy called 911 using a cell phone, but the calls were cut off so rescuers were unable to determine his location.
“We decided since we really didn’t know where to go, and it was nighttime and fairly warm, that we would begin our operation at seven in the morning and just go up the trail and look for the usual spots and try to attract the attention of this guy who was off the trail and didn’t know where he was.”
John says as KVRS was beginning operations at the trailhead, a woman coming down the mountain reported encountering the boy at the Deer Mountain cabin the previous night.
“He’d come down to the cabin and asked her if she could charge his cell phone and they couldn’t. Then he walked off on the main trail that takes you across the face of Deer Mountain – the standard way of coming down from Deer Mountain.”
John says the missing boy did not have a coat or provisions.
“It was just a day hike, and he wasn’t prepared at all.”
John says tourists arriving in cabs to hike Deer Mountain were recruited to help with the search.
“So I gathered them into groups and briefed them and said, ‘If you run into this person, call 911 and tell them where you are and that you found him.’ Most of them were really enjoying being a part of it. It’s a good story to tell when they get home.”
John says there were more than 100 people helping with the search, mostly tourists. He says a tourist found the boy on the trail and that he had injuries.
“He got into a steep slope and slipped and fell about 30 feet, landing in a stream. He injured his back, and he also hit his head, probably on rocks, so he had a contusion on his forehead.”
John says the boy was having trouble walking so a Temsco helicopter was called in to airlift the boy off the mountain. He was flown to a staging area near the landfill and transported by ambulance to PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center. John did not have further information about the boy’s condition, but says he was stable when sent to the hospital.