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Dori Monson

Texas woman calls chopper as search and rescue carries her off Mount St. Helens

Migrants wait to register at a processing center in the makeshift migrant camp known as "the jungle" near Calais, northern France, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. Crews have started dismantling the squalid migrant camp in France after the process to clear the camp began in earnest on Monday. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Is it rude to blow off a search and rescue crew that’s hiked hours to find you? According to the Skamania County sheriff’s office, a Texas woman did just that when she paid for a private helicopter service to speed up her rescue near the summit of Mount St. Helens last Tuesday.

Forty-eight-year-old Nancy Allen of Katy, Texas, and her 18-year-old daughter had climbed to the summit of the volcano July 23 but lost the trail on the way down. She said she fell and was unable to walk.

“The daughter talked about it and said she thought her mom was really hurting badly,” said Dori. “And the mom didn’t think she was going to make it off the mountain at all.”

A sheriff’s search and rescue coordinator and the Volcano Rescue Team from Fire District 13 out of Yacolt responded. They didn’t call a helicopter because Nancy’s injuries were apparently not severe enough, so they packed her into a stretcher with blankets and started carrying her out.

But around 5 a.m. Wednesday, Nancy decided the seven hour trek was too long to wait to get back to civilization. So she called a private helicopter company and shelled out $1300 to have them pick her up.

“I said, ‘I don’t have seven hours in me. I really don’t,'” Nancy told KTRK-TV in Houston. “This is a no-brainier, y’all.”

Dori and producer Jake debated whether Nancy crossed a line by calling a chopper while her rescuers were carrying her down a hill.

Jake said the woman should have called the helicopter as soon as she realized she couldn’t get off the mountain by herself. The rescuers were already putting their lives in jeopardy to come get her off the mountain after dark.

“It’s not costing them anything because they still have to walk down, their load is lighter and she gets to be flown off the mountain,” said Dori, playing devil’s advocate.

Dori wanted listeners to weigh in:

“Is that mom a jerk,” asked Dori, “or is it just self-preservation?”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Dori Monson on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

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About the Author

Jillian Raftery

Jillian Raftery is a reporter for KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. She loves the neighborly vibe of the Pacific Northwest and spends as much time as possible outdoors.


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