Risky rescue at Snoqualmie Pass saves hiker

by: Alison Grande Updated:


SNOQUALMIE PASS, Wash. - A hiker stuck on a cliff at Snoqualmie Pass was rescued by a team of skilled volunteers.

The Snohomish County Helicopter Rescue Team responded after the hiker called 911.             

The Snohomish County Sheriff's helicopter hovered next to the rock face while rescuer Miles McDonough was lowered by a cable with a special harness to put on the hiker.  

"We reserve the strop for those situations when it's too dangerous for me to come off that hoist hook," said McDonough.

He said that during the rescue, he talked to the stranded man before he landed next to him on the cliff.

"(I) let him know to keep holding the rock. Don't grab me. Let me come and do my thing. Everything's going to be all right. We're going to get you out of here."               

Pilot Bill Quistorf, who is a deputy with the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office,  kept the helicopter in place.

"I'm looking basically at a rock face we had about 10 foot rotor clearance,” said Quistorf about the dangerous rescue.

The sheriff's office said the man called 911 and said he was stuck and didn't know how much longer he could hold on. King County was also scrambling to get rescue crews to him but Snohomish County was first to be able to get rescuers in the air.               

The Snohomish County Helicopter Rescue team is made up of volunteers. They're the same team that spent weeks in Oso, pulling out survivors and recovering victims days after the slide.  They all have other jobs. McDonough is a wilderness medical instructor.                  

The successful rescue Monday ended with a handshake between McDonough and the hiker. The hiker was not interested in talking about the rescue.