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Climber Makes Phone Call: I'm Committing Suicide

Chinook helicopter lands on Mt. Hood to rescue him
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2018 1:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – A mountain climber who called authorities threatening to commit suicide was saved Friday in a hair-raising helicopter rescue, the Statesman Journal reports. The Oregon Army National Guard lowered six rescuers to the summit of Mount Hood—with only rear wheels touching and a plank used to reach the climber, Oregon Live notes—and ducked under blades rotating around chest-high. "It's surreal," says para-rescuer Joshua Kruse. "You just have to trust that the pilot knows what he's doing and that everyone is on the same page." The afternoon rescue took roughly 30 minutes at an altitude of over 11,000 feet, and ended with the Chinook helicopter flying the man to a nearby community.

There, an ambulance drove him away from an elementary school baseball field. The man's name and motive for suicide remain unknown, but officials say he changed his mind about killing himself. He was also diabetic and appeared to have spent the night on the mountain. The temperature was predicted to reach 52 degrees Friday, increasing the risk for climber and rescuer alike: "This time of day, this time of year, the mountain is just falling apart," says 304th Rescue Squadron member Phil Cole, who led the mission on the ground. "You've got falling ice, falling rock to watch out for." (See a video about the rescue here.)

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