PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Two people were rescued on Thursday near the Jefferson Park Wilderness area after becoming stranded in snowdrifts in separate search and rescue incidents, according to the Oregon Military Division.
The Sydney, Australia consulate notified the Marion County Sheriff’s Office that the father of a missing Australian mountain biker received a text from his son in Oregon that he was stranded without cold weather gear, officials said.
Officials said the mountain biker was stuck in a four to five-foot snowdrift near Hawk Mountain but was able to shelter in place inside an existing hiking trail structure.
In another incident, a female hiker on the Pacific Crest Trail was trapped in whiteout conditions for two days, authorities said. She initially activated her In-Reach GPS device on Tuesday; however, ground crews couldn’t reach her because of snowdrifts and fallen trees.
With the rescue missions 11.5 miles apart, authorities combined the calls and airlifted both during the same mission with the Oregon Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter. The two were flown to the Detroit Lake Ranger Station for medical attention before they were taken to Salem, authorities said.
“The weather conditions delayed the operation because of the heavy snow and whiteout conditions,” said Scott Lucas, State SAR Coordinator, with the Oregon Department of Emergency Management. “Because the two locations were near each other, the helicopter was able to pick them both up on the same mission and take them to the ranger station together.”