Hunter Hung From Tree Two Days Before Being Found
Russ Chastain 09.12.18
Here’s a reminder that hunting can be dangerous, and that it’s a great idea to let someone else know where you’re going to be hunting.
When 70-year-old Eddie Voelker fell from his tree stand, he was using a harness… but it became fouled and left him trapped upside-down, far above the forest floor in Umatilla County, Oregon. He remained trapped there for two days.
He was reportedly found by two hunters, a father and son who heard someone hollering for help.
An Oregon hunter who hung upside-down in a tree for 2 days about 30 feet (9 meters) from the ground was “hollering” for help when two hunters found him.
The La Grande Observer reports that father-and-son hunters Steven and Joseph Royston heard 70-year-old Eddie Voelker yelling from a mile (1.6 kilometers) away and spent 1 ½ hours searching for him because they were not looking up.
After he was found, the good samaritans reportedly still had to drive to a highway just to get cell service to call 911.
The La Grande Fire Department responded to the scene and the dispatchers also called the Umatilla County first responders and Union County Search and Rescue to the scene. SAR is trained and equipped for high angle/rope rescue, according to the release.
The man was located and a technical rescue began with the assistance from Pendleton ambulance, Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office, US Forest Service and OTEC personnel.
Using a harness is a great thing — but make sure it’s the right type of harness. Some can cut off blood flow, as this one apparently did.
Due to being tangled in his safety harness, which cuts off regular blood flow, the man suffered compartment syndrome.
According to LGFD Capt. Robert Tibbetts, compartment syndrome is the release of blood flow after a prolonged period of time, which will negatively impact the pH levels in the body, which then turns life threatening.
Tibbetts said in this incident, the rescuers were prepared for compartment syndrome to set in and had an Oregon Trail Electric Co-Op boom truck bucket to transfer the patient into once it set in. The man did lose consciousness halfway through the rescue and his heart stopped beating, according to the release.
He’d been on a hunting trip alone, his only companions being his dogs which stayed at his camp.
The latest reports I found indicate that he was placed in a medically-induce coma and kept in intensive care.