by: Richard Thompson Updated:
Members of the Thurston County Explorer Search and Rescue team were sent up the Pacific Crest Trail Wednesday to find two hikers stranded by deep snow.
The group was within a half mile of the hikers about 8 miles up the trail, but the snow was up to their waists and the situation became dangerous.
"It was getting late in the day and it was not a good situation for us if we kept going," group member Stuart Doty said.
The situation was more dangerous because one of the search team members injured his knee and could not travel any further.
Two of the team members hiked out to request a helicopter, and a break in the weather allowed a Coast Guard chopper to pick up the two stranded hikers, hoisting them to safety.
"It was a good feeling," Doty said. "It was a relief because I was worried about their condition."
The chopper also was able to pick up the injured searcher and four remaining members of the rescue team. Now the search and rescue teams concern is focused on two other hikers still missing in the area: Kristopher Zitzewitz and Alejandra Wilson.