USCG Medevacs Injured Hiker Who Survived Three Days Out in the Cold

bailey rescue
Image courtesy Hood River County Sheriffs' Office

Published Jan 24, 2021 1:27 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Friday, a Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter aircrew rescued a badly-injured hiker who had been stranded in a canyon near Cascade Locks, Oregon for three days. 

Two hikers found the injured man near Gorton Creek Trail in the Columbia River Gorge on Friday. The victim, identified by local media as 43-year-old Morgan Bailey, had fallen 50 feet down a cliff into the canyon on Tuesday - three days earlier.

The hikers found Bailey less than a mile from the trailhead, and they reported that he was conscious and breathing, but confused, injured and possibly hypothermic. They tried to help him down the trail, but he wasn't able to walk on his own. 

The Hood River County Sheriff's Office and other responders were on scene first and gave him emergency medical care, but with hazardous trail conditions and Bailey's suspected injuries, they decided to call for a helicopter medevac. 

Watchstanders at Sector Columbia River received a request for assistance from Oregon Emergency Management at about 1730 hours. The Jayhawk aircrew was on a training flight offshore, and they diverted to Air Station Columbia River to pick up equipment and a rescue swimmer. The aircrew departed from Air Station Columbia River at about 1800 hours and arrived at the scene at 1845. 

The aircrew hoisted Bailey from the canyon with help from the responders on scene, then carried him to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland. At 2000 hours, he was transfered to the hospital's trauma team. He was in stable condition. 

“He was extremely fortunate. Had those hikers not located him, he had a very low chance of survival through the night. The work of the search and rescue teams, first responders and the quick response from the Coast Guard led to a successful outcome today,” said Hood River County Sherriff's Deputy Chris Guertin.