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Okanogan County Search and Rescue was tasked with two rescues over the Labor Day weekend, both rescues taking place in the area of Hart’s Pass north west of Winthrop.

The Okanogan County Sheriff's Office detailed both rescues in a release. The first began just after 5:00PM last Friday, after the sheriff’s office was notified that a 28-year-old man who was hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail in the area of Woody Pass had become severely ill and could no longer walk on his own. After requesting assistance from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, the County Search and Rescue Coordinator went to Hart’s Pass. Shortly before 8 pm, the Navy helicopter used their hoist to drop a medic to the ill man, and about a half hour later the ill man and the medic were hoisted back to the helicopter, and the man was airlifted to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bellingham. As of yesterday, there is no word on his condition.

Then on Monday morning, the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by the husband of a woman who was hiking with another person, who reported that her hiking partner had become severely ill in the area of Holcomb Pass, again near the Pacific Rest Trail north and west of Hart’s Pass. The woman's hiking partner was unable to walk. The husband was able to communicate with the wife, and was able to give updates on both the location and the condition of the sick person.

The Search and Rescue Coordinator then contacted Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and requested their helicopter to assist in the rescue of the sick person, who was approximately 14 miles from the Hart’s Pass trailhead. Again, the SAR Coordinator traveled to Hart’s Pass to assist in the rescue. Throughout the rescue process which lasted until just before 2:00 pm Monday, the SAR Coordinator was able to maintain some communication with the female who was with the sick person. The party was located, and a medic was lowered to their location via hoist, and the sick person hoisted into the helicopter. The patient was then transported to the Omak Airport where he was then taken by ambulance to Mid Valley Hospital. The Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office was also assisted in this rescue by Okanogan-Wenatchee US Forest Service Law Enforcement.

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