SHFAD rescues patient who fell down Cascadia waterfall

Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District personnel rescued a man who had fallen down a waterfall east of Cascadia Monday evening, April 18.

According to SHFAD, a caller reported at 6:45 p.m. Monday that a male had fallen off a waterfall near Longbow Camp and had suffered unknown injuries.

First to arrive was a captain from the Cascadia station, followed closely by an ambulance and rescue unit that were leaving another incident east of Sweet Home. Crews met the 9-1-1 caller on Gordon Road, who advised the location of the injured male.

The captain had to go through frigid water and swim through a 10-foot-wide canal with shear rock walls on each side to reach the patient. The water was 20 feet deep in some areas.

After reaching the patient, the captain determined he had fallen approximately 35 feet. The ambulance crew gathered rescue equipment including life jackets, ropes and a patient litter, and entered the water to make their way to the patient.

Additional water rescue personnel were requested with wet suits to respond from the fire station in Sweet Home.

Firefighters rigged a “high line” using ropes suspended above the water to transport the patient back over the 80 feet of water to safety.

After Swift Water Rescue and ambulance personnel reached land with the patient, additional firefighters and Linn County deputies carried the patient an additional 100 yards over a rocky trail to an awaiting ambulance. A Life Flight helicopter was waiting at Riverbend campground, approximately 10 minutes away.

The patient was stabilized en route to the helicopter so he could be safely flown to Riverbend hospital in Springfield.

Fourteen Sweet Home firefighters were on the scene. Lebanon Fire District also responded with additional rope rescue personnel.

During that time Sweet Home Fire District responded to three additional emergency calls with limited personnel.

A SHFAD statement noted that as the weather gets warmer, “people may be tempted to take chances around some of our beautiful remote water features. Please remember if injured, you are taking emergency personnel out of service for sometimes seven to eight hours, which means it may take that long for those injured to reach a hospital.

“Please be careful when recreating in the wilderness as these types of incidents require emergency personnel to be unavailable for other emergency calls for extended periods of time.”

SHFAD also credited volunteers for their role in the rescue operation.

“This rescue would not have been possible without Volunteer Firefighters. If you are interest in helping in situations like these please consider becoming a Volunteer Firefighter by contact Recruitment and Retention Coordinator Ryan Paul at [email protected].”