CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK — A Florida man who slipped on loose snow and nearly slid into the frigid waters of Crater Lake Monday afternoon was rescued and flown to a Bend hospital by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter.
The man, described only as 29 years old and from Florida, reportedly slid more than 800 feet down the caldera wall before coming to a stop in some trees about a hundred feet from the lake. He and friends were reportedly viewing the lake from a spot just west of Rim Village when the accident happened about 12:30 p.m. Monday.
“He jumped onto the snow, slipped and kept going,” said Crater Lake spokeswoman Marsha McCabe.
She said park staff quickly responded, sending a team of rangers rappelling down the caldera where they found the man. Other agencies, including the Jackson County Fire Department District 3 Technical Rope Rescue Team, assisted and were instrumental in the rescue. The man, whose injuries were not disclosed, was assisted into an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter provided by Coast Guard from North Bend, which hoisted him out of the caldera to Discovery Point about 6 p.m. He was transferred to an AirLink Critical Care Transport that flew him to Bend. There was no information about injuries.
“I think it was a great team effort by the park and partners who worked with us,” McCabe said.
She said park visitors should always exercise caution when viewing the lake, either from designated overlooks or, as happened Monday, from other rim viewpoints. “People should use caution and stay safely back,” McCabe urged, noting there is still a danger of potential snow cornices that, when stepped on, might collapse.
The park remains only partially accessible with only the South Entrance open. Snowplow crews have cleared snow from Rim Village along West Rim Drive nearly to the North Junction, which connects with the park’s North Entrance Road. No date has been set for opening the North Entrance, which allows visitors easier access in and out of the park.