CSACAvalanche Incident, 2004-2005 Season

Date Location Activity Killed Injured Bulletin
May 22 Oregon Climbing 0 2

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Media Reports

Two injured in North Sister avalanche

12:01 AM PDT on Monday, May 23, 2005
By kgw.com and AP Staff

SISTERS, Ore. -- An avalanche in the Central Oregon Cascades critically injured two hikers from Portland on Sunday afternoon, authorities said.

The victims were plucked from the 10,085-foot North Sister mountain by Blackhawk helicopters sent by the Oregon National Guard. The hikers were taken to the Sisters Aiport and then transported to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, where they were being treated for their injuries, said Kay Fristad, a Guard spokeswoman.

They were identified as Nancy Miller, 40, and James Ellers, 36, both of Portland.

Fristad said the pair were critically injured. A hospital spokeswoman said late Sunday she could not provide any information about their condition.

Miller and Ellers were on the east side of the mountain with James Brewer, 50, and David Byrne Jr., 39, also both of Portland. Brewer and Byrne were able to call 9-1-1 at about 1:20 p.m., alerting authorities that Miller and Ellers were injured, said Lt. Michael Johnston of the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office.

Miller and Ellers were stabilized on the glacier by search and rescue crews. A Blackhawk helicopter sent by the guard retrieved Miller from around the 8,000-foot mark and then a second helicopter evacuated Ellers.

Johnston said the avalanche started from an area above the foursome, and they did not trigger it.

Injured climbers rescued on N. Sister

A Portland man and woman caught in an avalanche are lifted off the mountain by helicopters and are now in a Bend hospital

Monday, May 23, 2005

Two Oregon Army National Guard helicopters rescued two injured climbers Sunday evening after an avalanche swept them several hundred feet down Thayer Glacier on the North Sister.

Nancy Miller, 40, was critically injured in the fall. She and James Ellers, 36, were taken to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, said Lt. Michael Johnston of the Deschutes County sheriff's office. Johnston did not give Ellers' condition.

The four were part of a group, all from Portland, climbing the mountain. James Brewer, 50, and David Bryne, 39, were not injured in the avalanche. They used a cell phone to call for help at 1:20 p.m., then administered first aid until help arrived, Johnston said.

Johnston said rescuers reached the injured climbers by ground, and a dozen more arrived by air. Together they stabilized the injured climbers before they were taken to the hospital.

Kay Fristad, the National Guard's deputy public affairs officer, said the injured climbers needed to be moved off the mountain -- they were at about 8,000 feet -- as quickly as possible.

Two Black Hawk helicopters took off about 3:30 p.m. from the Oregon Army Aviation Support Facility in Salem.

Each had a flight medic aboard, who was lowered onto the mountain and placed an injured hiker in a litter to be hoisted up. Fristad said they were flown to nearby Sisters, Miller arriving about 6:30 p.m. and Ellers 30 to 45 minutes later. Miller was taken by helicopter to the Bend hospital. Ellers was transported in an ambulance.

N. Sister avalanche traps four

May 23, 2005 By Keith Chu
The Bend Bulletin

SISTERS — Two people were airlifted from the eastern slope of North Sister with serious injuries after their hiking party triggered an avalanche on the mountain Sunday afternoon.

Nancy Miller, 40, and James A. Ellers, 36, both of Portland, were transported to St. Charles Medical Center-Bend by ambulance and helicopter, said Lt. Michael Johnston of the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office.

Ellers and Miller, along with David Byrne Jr., 39, and James Brewer, 50, also of Portland, set off the avalanche when they walked into the path of an unstable snow slope on Thayer Glacier on the east side of North Sister, sometime before 1:30 p.m., said Johnston.

"They were just hiking, I guess," Johnston said.

Their location was about a day's hike up the mountain, he said.

According to Johnston, the rescue operation unfolded as follows:

Dispatchers at Deschutes County 911 received a call from Brewer and Byrne, at 1:30 p.m., reporting the avalanche. About an hour later, a helicopter from Air Life of Oregon delivered search and rescue workers to the scene, Johnston said.

Deschutes County Search and Rescue coordinated the operation from a mobile command center at Sisters Airport. The Oregon National Guard launched two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from Salem at 3:30 p.m. to rescue the hikers. Passers-by gathered on the edge of the Sisters Airport to observe the two black military helicopters.

Rescue teams transported Miller, who suffered the most serious injuries, to a staging area at the Sisters Airport about two hours later.

There, military personnel and volunteers removed Miller from a bright orange sling-type harness and placed her on a stretcher before loading her onto the Air Life helicopter.

Rescue workers also airlifted Ellers from the glacier, but transported him to the hospital by ambulance.

Byrne and Brewer were not injured in the avalanche, Johnston said.

Official Reports


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