Dori: Fire chief describes `yucky situation’ rescuing hiker who fell into pit toilet

Apr 22, 2022, 6:10 PM
Olympic National Park rescue...
Image of Lunch Lake in Seven Lakes Basin at Olympic National Park, July 2019. (National Parks Service Photo, Brendan Fluckiger)
(National Parks Service Photo, Brendan Fluckiger)

Accidentally dropping her cell phone into an 8-foot-deep vault toilet was only the start to one California woman’s troubles while hiking in Washington’s Olympic National Forest earlier this week.

Things got a lot messier from there, Brinnon Fire Chief Timothy Manly told The Dori Monson Show Friday.

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After unsuccessfully rigging her dog’s leashes to “try to fish it out,” the hiker tried Plan B: “She used the dog leashes to tie herself (above the seat) and . . . that failed and she slipped in headfirst.”

Fortunately, Manly told Dori and his listeners, it’s near “the beginning of the season.” That meant the hiker was able to scour through the malodorous waste and locate her phone. Using her still-working phone, the woman called 911, Manly explained.

Emergency responders donned “hazmat suits” and raced to the structure that Manly described as a “concrete vault, that has a hole in the middle, with a privacy area. On top of it stands a pedestal with a toilet seat.” Waste plunges eight feet.

When they arrived? “It was a yucky situation,” Manly confirmed.

To rescue the hiker from the putrid pit, the firefighters handed down “cribbing” blocks, allowing the woman to create a platform she could step high enough onto so the responders could wrap her in webbing and slide her out.

How is she doing? Dori asked.

“She was a good sport,” Manly said. The hiker declined a ride to a hospital and was uninjured, so “we washed her down” with water from the truck, gave her a Tyvek disposal protective cover-all, and made sure she was alert and oriented before she drove off.

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“What a harrowing tale,” Dori told him. “God bless you guys. You have to be ready to respond to anything.”

Manly’s advice for anyone hiking on the Olympic Peninsula: “keep your phone in your pocket or get cell phone insurance.”

Dori Monson on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
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Dori: Fire chief describes `yucky situation’ rescuing hiker who fell into pit toilet