Footing the bill for the BASE jumper rescueAugust 4, 2010 @ 7:21 am (Updated: 1:53 pm - 3/28/11 )
"When my string breaks, I'm dead," a tired, cold and sore Eldon Burrier screamed to a 911 dispatcher as he hung from a rock outcropping on Mount Baring in Snohomish County. The BASE jumper's parachute got caught about 200 feet into his jump from the top of the mountain. About 60 volunteers risked their lives to save the 45-year-old Lynnwood man.
The rescue has people asking again who should pay for rescues when the people who get in trouble put themselves at risk on purpose.
There is no controversy if authorities launch helicopters or send out a search party for a family that gets lost on a trail or a child that becomes separated from group the climbers. When a skier intentionally goes off the trail into the back-country and gets in trouble or a guy jumps off a mountain and gets stuck, taxpayers might find themselves asking who should be responsible for footing the bill for the rescue.
"We do not charge people," Snohomish County Search and Rescue Deputy Peter Teske said.
Teske says he doesn't want to discourage those who are lost from calling for help.
"People who get lost and need aid will not call 911 thinking about the financial issue and then become more lost or more injured."
Some groups are pushing for extreme sports enthusiasts to buy rescue insurance before they head out.
Barrier was not injured in his mishap on Mt. Baring, but he was arrested once he got off the mountain. He had an outstanding warrant for reckless endangerment for jumping off the Deception Pass Bridge on the first day of halibut season.
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