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Schroder
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PostTue Feb 02, 2021 2:54 pm 
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I've spent a good part of the last year scanning my old photos and putting some stories to them. I didn't usually carry a camera with me on rescues but I happened to have it this time in 1975.

On January 5,1975, a Cessna TU206D air ambulance left the tri-cities airport carrying a patient to a hospital in Seattle. On board were a pilot, copilot, nurse, and the patient with his spouse. There was a heavy snowstorm in the mountains with severe aircraft icing conditions. The plane never arrived at Boeing Field and Civil Air Patrol began a search.

Throughout the next day the search continued and they finally picked up a weak emergency locator transmitter signal in the afternoon. The mountain terrain was making it difficult to triangulate a position but they narrowed it down to the Green River watershed above Palmer.

Mountain Rescue teams from Everett, Seattle, Tacoma, and Bremerton were called out that evening and congregated at a base camp near the Howard Hansen Reservoir. Helicopter air support was provided by the National Guard from Paine Field.

The first team loaded into a Chinook and flew slowly up the mountainside and visually located the crash in heavy timber near the Eastern end of McDonald Mountain. They attempted to lower a rescuer to the site and somehow he came out of his harness and fell 100 feet to the ground, his fall being broken by branches, and he was severely injured. The chopper found a landing spot in a clearing half a mile away, unloaded the rest of the rescue team, and came back for my team. As we were flying up, the first team reached the crash site and discovered 2 survivors of the crash inside the upside-down plane with only minor injuries but hypothermic. When we reached the crash site our priority became evacuating the injured rescuer.

001
001
Cessna-1
Cessna-1
Cessna09
Cessna09
Cessna-2
Cessna-2
005
005
Cessna13
Cessna13

Over the course of the morning there were about 50 rescuers that were shuttled to the site. The weather was steadily deteriorating with blowing snow developing in the afternoon. The survivors of the crash were flown out with some of the rescuers. As the 45 remaining rescuers congregated at the landing zone, the weather was becoming extreme and it was obvious that the helo could only make one last flight. It was loaded with an auxiliary fuel tank so it couldn't carry many passengers. As it landed, the crew chief waved all 45 of us on board with all our gear, when 15 was considered maximum. The chinook was barely off the ground when the pilot lost control. The crew chief yelled for us all to hit the deck and brace for a crash as we were plummeting toward the powerlines below. We made a very hard landing, sustaining some damage to the helo, but no one was injured.

Cessna-7
Cessna-7
Cessna-4
Cessna-4
Cessna-6
Cessna-6
Cessna15
Cessna15
Cessna-5
Cessna-5
Cessna22
Cessna22
Cessna24
Cessna24
Cessna27
Cessna27
Cessna29
Cessna29

The survivors from the plane were the copilot and the patient's spouse. The rescuer, Al Givler, recovered from his injuries but he unfortunately died while climbing in Alaska just a couple of years later.

Cessna TU206
Cessna TU206

From the New York Times
Jan 9, 1975
Survivor of Plane Crash Tells of 50 Hours Spent in Wreckage

RENTON. Wash. Jan. 8 (AP) —”We never lost faith,” Marilyn Foos recalled from her hospital bed. Only hours earlier she lay injured in the wreckage of a single‐engine plane.

“All day Monday we heard the rescue planes fly overhead. Our greatest fear was that they wouldn't find us. I almost wanted to call someone on the telephone and say: ‘Hey, we're alive!'”

Mrs. Foos last night told of the 50 anxious hours she spent crammed in the wreckage with the pilot, Gregory Bennett, the only other survivor. Her husband, Paul, and two others lay dead in the wreckage.

The plane was on an ambulance mission from the TriCities area of southeastern Washington to take her husband to the University of Washington Hospital in Seattle.

Also killed in the Sunday crash were Lenore Crowley, registered nurse, and another pilot, Michael Bass.

Mrs. Foos, Mr. Bennett and Paul Givler, who fell 150 feet from an Army, Chinook helicopter to the snow‐covered ground when a winch cable slipped during rescue attempts, were listed in serious but stable condition.

She described how she and Mr. Bennett had worked to get him cut of the plane long enough to check the locater beam that eventually led to their rescue.

“I had one good arm and he had two good legs. He used his lees to move, while l could open the hatch door and push him upwards.”

The plane was covered by four inches of snow and obscured by a thick stand of 100foot trees. The rescue helicopter that found the wreckage yesterday morning made four passes overhead before spotting it.

“We were so damned close,” said Ed Cleeves, search and rescue coordinator at Fort Lewis. “It looked like it went right into the mountainside with the tail pointed downhill. It was the red‐and‐white tail we spotted.”

The area was too steep and wooded for a landing, so rescuers had to be lowered onto nearby ridge. Then they had to hike in 40‐knot winds through five feet of snow to reach the wreckage.
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Jaberwock
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PostTue Feb 02, 2021 6:03 pm 
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Amazing story and great photos, thank you for sharing.
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RichP
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PostTue Feb 02, 2021 6:47 pm 
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Fascinating. Thank you, Schroder.
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Jake
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PostWed Feb 03, 2021 6:29 am 
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God bless you S&R people.
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cdestroyer
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PostWed Feb 03, 2021 8:14 am 
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Excellent story. Kudos for the photos and the hard work in rough weather!
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Geography Nerd
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PostWed Feb 03, 2021 2:37 pm 
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Schroder this is great!

I started with Pierce County ESAR in '92 and was very active until a few years ago when I started a family. I hope to get my kids involved when they get a little older.

I fondly remember one of our instructors talking about this rescue (it was one of his first searches).
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hatchetation
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PostWed Feb 10, 2021 4:34 pm 
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Love the photos, those are great!

Curious for more details on what happened with Mr. Givler. Did he really slip his harness? That Nytimes article makes it sound like something failed in the helicopter. Scary.
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Schroder
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PostWed Feb 10, 2021 6:04 pm 
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hatchetation wrote:
Curious for more details on what happened with Mr. Givler. Did he really slip his harness? That Nytimes article makes it sound like something failed in the helicopter.

As I recall, there was a lot of miscommunication on the helicopter. They lowered Al down, with his pack on, in a horsecollar - which is awkward to begin with. The cable wouldn't reach the ground and Al communicated with the crew chief that it wasn't much farther to the ground and he would jump the rest of the way. As he was starting to do that, either the pilot had to move quickly or wind shifted suddenly and the crew chief started to reel in the cable. Al was far enough out of the harness that the movement popped him the rest of the way out of it and by that time he was more than 100 feet from the ground. He fell head first but branches broke his fall and he landed in very deep soft snow, otherwise he would have easily been killed. This event and later overloading the helo at the end of the day caused this crew to get grounded. It was one of the scariest flights I was ever on.

Al Givler and Dusan Jagersky were killed in 1977 when they were descending a peak with Jim Wickwire and Steve Marts after a first ascent in the Fairweather Range.
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car68
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PostSat Feb 13, 2021 7:04 pm 
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Schroder, thanks for the interesting posts of SAR long ago.  I have heard the Al Givler story but never the whole story.

Oh and who can forget the Rice Raingear.  Heavy and awkward but it lasted for ever.

--------------
I'm the guy 911 calls.
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Bruce Albert
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PostSat Feb 13, 2021 10:20 pm 
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Al described the incident in detail a day or two later when we visited him in the hospital. His explanation was that he was in the horse collar 'backwards', but did not elaborate as to whether that was to allow for his pack or if an error was made. The rest was pretty much a described here: he was lowered down, and there was not enough line on the winch, and the ship could apparently not hover lower, so they commenced to winching him back up.  As he described it he was virtually all the way up when he slipped out.
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