An injured hiker says he used bear spray to fend off bears while he awaited rescue after he broke his leg on Saturday.
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island’s Search and Rescue spokesman Mike Welding said SAR came to the aid of the 50-year-old man near Ross Lake in the North Cascades.
Welding said the man, who is currently on active duty with the Army, had activated a spot beacon at 5 p.m. Saturday at an elevation of approximately 6,000 feet.
The Homeland Security unit dropped food and a medical kit to the injured hiker, but were unable to evacuate him as their helicopter didn’t have the necessary hoisting equipment, which led them to NAS Whidbey Island’s SAR unit.
SAR launched its MH-60S Knighthawk around 10:20 Saturday.
“We quickly located the switchback trail down the mountain and the survivor’s strobe light at 11:02 p.m.,” said LT Robert Merin, the SAR Mission Commander.
The man was hoisted aboard the rescue helicopter and the crew flew him to St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham.