FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 21, 2012
CONTACT: Shari Ireton, Director of Communications
425-388-3377, Breaking News Pager: 425-339-5700
Gold Bar, WA - At 1:36 AM this morning, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (SAR) Unit
and Gold Bar Fire successfully rescued a thirteen year old Burien, Washington boy from the rocks above Wallace
Falls, in Gold Bar, Washington.
The incident began around 5:00 pm on Saturday evening when the boy was hiking with his father and his father’s
friend. The boy was wading in Wallace River when he slipped on the rocks and went into the water. The boy then
went over a ten foot waterfall before he was able to scramble to a rock ledge, beneath a large overhanging rock,
just prior to going over the main 270 foot waterfall. By the time rescuers arrived, the boy was wet and
crouching on the rock, that was about one foot wide.
The rescue was especially difficult as an overhead rock face restricted a clear vertical decent from the
helicopter. Two rescuers were lowered by the helicopter hoist at a spot about 200 yards below the boy’s
location. They then climbed up to a spot above the overhanging rock above the boy.
The first rescuer rappelled down by rope in order to try and reach the boy under the rock overhang.
The friction of the rock caused the rope to break and the rescuer fell to the river. The rescuer was saved
from going over the falls by his belay (secondary) line. The rescuer made it to the river bank safely.
Additional rescuers were deployed up-river and they eventually made it to the area adjacent to the boy.
While rigging was set-up, they were able to throw clothes and food to the boy, to help mitigate his hypothermia.
At 1:36 AM, he was finally removed from the rock and the ten rescuers camped overnight with him until they
were flown from the area by helicopter using an Airborne Tactical Extraction Platform suspended 80 feet below
the helicopter at 6 AM this morning. The boy did not require medical treatment at the scene, but was going to
be checked later today by a physician.