CROOKED RIVER RANCH, Ore. - A 12-year-old Damascus, Ore., girl improved to serious condition at a Portland hospital Friday after she slipped and fell 40 feet into the Crooked River Canyon behind a home at Crooked River Ranch, triggering a 2-hour rescue effort, authorities said.
Allison Billard was vacationing with her family, staying at a home on Waterhole Place at Crooked River Ranch, when the fall occurred late Thursday morning, said Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins. Damascus is in Clackamas County, southeast of Portland.
Deputies said Billard and other children were playing too close to the cliff, and friends said she slipped and fell into the canyon.
CRR Fire and Rescue medics set up a rope system to rappel down and reach Billard, who was loaded onto a stokes litter and raised back up the cliff with the help of Jefferson County Fire crews, the sheriff said,. He added that the child's father had maneuvered to her location from a different direction.
The girl was taken to a landing zone, where she was loaded onto a Life Flight helicopter and flown to St. Charles-Bend. Thursday evening, she was flown to Portland's Oregon Health & Science University, where she had improved from critical to serious condition by Friday morning.
Adkins said when medics reached Billard, she was conscious and breathing.
The rescue operation took nearly two hours to complete, the sheriff said.
Unfortunately, it's not an unusual operation for local rescue crews along the canyon.
"We had seven rescue-recoveries last year," said CRR Fire Chief Tim McLaren. "We usually average four or five a year. This is the first one of 2013."