Longview Police & Fire
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Update - Rope Team Rescues Man from Icy Slope - 01/16/17

The rescue incident occurred on a hillside near the 2000 block of 38th Avenue in Longview. The slope was approximately 600 feet from the top of the ridge to the access road below. The incident was reported just before 5:30 PM and the last of our rescue personnel had left the scene at 8:20 PM.

Special operations team member Russ Reese and Brett Johnson secure a rescue line below the victim.
Special operations team member Russ Reese and Brett Johnson secure a rescue line below the victim.
Rope Team Rescues Man from Icy Slope (Photo) - 01/16/17

Longview, WA -- A man phoned 911 to say he was cold and stranded on an icy hillside in Longview Sunday evening. The approximately 30-year-old Clatskanie resident had hiked down from a ridgetop about 200 feet when the slope became perilously steep. He attempted to turn around but due to ice and snow became stranded.

Crews from American Medical Response and the Longview Fire Department, including Acting Lieutenant Brett Venneri from the fire department's Special Operations Team arrived at the scene minutes after the first call. They were able to make verbal contact with the subject on the hillside. As additional responders descended on the scene the 911 center was able to reestablish contact with the man and relay instructions from rescue teams.

Longview Firefighters used a four-wheel drive command vehicle to place rescuers above the victim. Acting Lieutenant Venneri then descended a rope to contact the victim directly and to assess him for injuries. Ultimately, crews extended additional ropes and lowered the man to safety. He was transported by AMR paramedics to St. John Medical Center for hypothermia treatment and was in stable condition. Due to federal privacy laws, the patient's identity cannot be released.

"Though these types of rescues occur irregularly in our community, we must remain prepared", said Battalion Chief Eric Koreis, the incident commander from Longview Fire. "While our crews were able to effect a safe rescue last night, the community needs to know that there is a tremendous network of collaboration that exists behind the scenes", said Koreis. "Multiple agencies including Kalama Fire District 5 and Toutle Fire District 3 had personnel ready to respond and assist; Cowlitz County Sheriff's Deputies were at the scene coordinating volunteer support personnel from Search and Rescue, 2 medic units from AMR mobilized to the scene for patient treatment and rescuer support, and a dozen Longview Fire employees were called back to work to provide normal emergency coverage for the City during the incident", he said.

Recognizing the tremendous resources required to effect his rescue, the victim repeatedly thanked rescuers during the incident. "You are all heroes, real heroes", he said.