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Redmond hiker rescued after fall on South Sister

Life Flight helicopter assists in rescue operation

SISTERS, Ore. - (Update: Hiker identified, details of rescue)

A 31-year-old Redmond man who fell on the icy slopes of South Sister and slid into a tree Tuesday was rescued by Deschutes County Sheriff's Search and Rescue and a Life Flight helicopter crew in an effort that took several hours.

County 911 dispatchers received a report shortly before 10 a.m. of an injured hiker on the South Sister climbing trail, said sheriff's Lt. Bryan Husband, search and rescue coordinator.

Blake Ettestad had been hiking with a group of friends descending from the 10,358-foot summit when he lost control on the ice at about 8,100 feet elevation, fell and slid into a tree, sustaining a non-life-threatening injury that prompted the rescue operation.

Ettestad's friends stabilized him as best as they could and called 911, Husband said.

Two sheriff's deputies and 10 SAR volunteers responded to assist. Life Flight was contacted and flew four volunteers to the closest available landing area, around 7,500 feet, then headed up the trail, reaching Ettestad around 1:20 p.m.

They further stabilized Ettestad and placed him into a Cascade rescue sled for transport, Husband said.

With thunderstorms in the area, five more SAR volunteers began hiking up the trail from Devil's Lake Trailhead, should Life Flight not have been able to return.

Life Flight returned and met the four SAR volunteers who had transported Ettestad to the landing area. The helicopter crew then took him to St. Charles Bend.

Husband said the sheriff's office wanted to thank Life Flight for its help. "Without their assistance, the response time to Ettestad's location would have been considerably longer, potentially leading to further medical problems," Husband wrote.

Meanwhile, Redmond Fire personnel assisted an exhausted hiker at Smith Rock State Park near Terrebonne who needed assistance returning to the parking lot, officials said.


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