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Olympic National Park rescue
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Olympic National Park rescue ‘by far the most difficult’ of Coast Guard commander’s career

Image of Lunch Lake in Seven Lakes Basin at Olympic National Park, July 2019. (National Parks Service Photo, Brendan Fluckiger)

A U.S. Coast Guard commander called it the “most difficult” rescue of his career, after two hikers had to be airlifted to safety while stranded on a remote cliff in Olympic National Park.

The Coast Guard says the pair climbed up to the ledge after retreating from rising tides.

A helicopter crew eventually rescued them at around 2 a.m. Sunday, hovering 240 feet above the hikers after deploying a rescue swimmer.

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“The time of day and location of the hikers made this, by far, the most difficult hoist of my career,” Lt. Cmdr. Sammy Hill, the aircraft commander for the rescue, told KIRO 7 TV. “This was also the first operational rescue for both our rescue swimmer and flight mechanic. Considering the dark and perilous conditions, they did a commendable job saving the lives of these two people in their unprecedented first rescue.”

Both hikers were reported in good condition following the rescue, and were safely transported to nearby Forks Airport.

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