GLACIER, Wash. — First responders were dispatched to the area of Nooksack Falls about 8pm on July 29th after people called 911 to report having seen a person fall into the water and get swept away.
Witness had to drive several miles in order to reach landline phones or cellular phone reception from where they could call 911.
Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded along with Whatcom County Fire District 19 personnel and US Border Patrol agents.
WCSO Spokesperson Deb Slater said in an email, “Because of dangerous conditions due to the water rapids, Deputies requested assistance from Naval Air Station Whidbey Search and Rescue Air and Marine who responded with a helicopter to find the individual.”
Sunset was about 8:50pm and Slater reported the helicopter was working in total darkness when they found the person, conscious and breathing, in a canyon. They were hoisted out of the canyon by the helicopter and transported by ambulance to PeaceHealth St Joseph Medical Center to be treated for external injuries.
According to a Department of the US Navy press release, “After an extensive search, the patient was found about 100 yards downstream from the Falls, on a shoulder of the river under a tree. The SAR crew recovered the patient, who was hypothermic and had fall injuries, via hoist and transported her to St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Bellingham by 11:25 p.m.” The crew launched from Ault Field at approximately 10:10pm and began searching for the patient as soon as they arrived at the Falls according to the press release.
Deputies located a vehicle believed to belong to the person and were able to identify them through documents found inside.