Hiker Rescued After Being Pinned Under Large Boulder in The Enchantments
A hiker was rescued after being pinned underneath a large boulder near Lake Viviane in The Enchantments on Monday.
Rescuers were notified about the incident involving 28-year-old Ben Delahunty of Montana by his hiking partner at around 9:30 a.m.
Over a dozen rescuers from multiple agencies were flown by helicopter to Delahunty’s location about nine miles southwest of Leavenworth.
Chelan County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Jason Reinfeld says once crews arrived, it quickly become apparent it was not going to be an easy mission.
”The boulder was about the size of a refrigerator. I can’t recall a time when we’ve had to remove a boulder like that in an area that’s so remote. It was also essentially cliff side with a lot of exposure for falls. Rescuers had to use rope access to get to the patient and anything they did had to be secured by ropes.”
The boulder was trapping one of Delahunty’s legs and wrists.
Rescue members from the Wenatchee Valley Fire Department used air bladders designed to lift vehicles off car accident victims to free Delahunty just before 3:00 p.m.
Gusty winds prevented Delahunty from being immediately airlifted, but he was eventually flown from the scene about two hours later in a helicopter provided by the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.
Many of the rescuers had to make the nine-mile hike back to the trailhead and didn't complete the journey until about 11 p.m.
Reinfeld says this was perhaps the most intricate rescue he’s ever seen during his many years with the sheriff’s office.
“I’ve been involved with search and rescue for around 15 years and I can’t recall one as complicated as this. It really does speak volumes for the crews and partnerships that we have around here.”
After Delahunty had remained under the boulder for several hours it was feared he might be facing the need for amputation, but Reinfeld says his prognosis is good although he did suffer significant injuries to the leg that was pinned.
Delahunty was last reported in satisfactory condition on Tuesday at Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee.