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Dec-15-2009 03:04printcommentsVideo

Blackhawk Helicopter Joins Search for Missing Climbers on Mount Hood (VIDEO REPORT)

Oregon Army National Guard helicopter provides aerial search assistance.

Salem-News.com
An Oregon Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter hovers over Mount Hood, Ore., while searching for missing climbers Dec., 14. The UH-60 Blackhawk was called out to assist the Clackamas County Sherriff's Office to help attempt to locate the climbers. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Eric Rutherford, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs Office)

(MT. HOOD, Ore.) - The Oregon Army National Guard launched a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter Monday to assist in the search for two missing climbers on Mount Hood.

Katie Nolan and Anthony Vietti were climbing with a partner, Luke Gullber Friday, when they failed to return from their climb at a scheduled time.

Clackamas County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Coordinators were alerted late Friday evening by a friend of the climbing party, that the three were overdue from their climb on the mountain.

The three climbers were all described as experienced and were well equipped for the intended climb and summit on Mount Hood, Clackamas Sheriff's Office Spokesman Jim Strovink said.

Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue Coordinators learned the climbers intended to return to Timberline Lodge around 2:00 p.m. Friday afternoon.

A Search and Rescue team located Luke Gullber's body Saturday, on Mount Hood. They say he died from exposure.

His body was recovered by search and rescue volunteers, who found this 26-year old climber from Des Moines, Washington deceased at approximately 10:00 a.m. on the Reid Glacier, which is around the 9,000-foot level on Mt. Hood.

Video of Monday's SAR efforts Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Hartman of the Oregon National Guard.

Searchers are holding out hope that the experienced, missing climbers are finding a way to stay alive on the mountain until help can reach them.

The National Weather Service, incident meteorologist who is assigned to this ongoing mission, is reporting that an additional, more severe weather pattern for the mountain on Tuesday is expected.

They believe it will bring large amounts of snow to the mountain, the worst news for teams hoping to access already dangerous areas.

The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue Coordinators are assembling Tuesday morning at 7:00 a.m. to assess the present weather conditions and plan the next stage of this search effort.

The Oregon Guard is one of several groups participating in the search and rescue efforts, their aircraft are working hard when flying at this altitude, but they're a big help in searching dangerous terrain on days when avalanches threaten rescuers on the ground.

The National Guard helicopter crew picked up members of the Portland Mountain Rescue team at Timberline Lodge for an hour and a half aerial flight over the parts of Mount Hood where the missing climbers could be located.

Fog was a factor for this crew, as well as high altitude and cold conditions on the mountain. The search for the climbers unfortunately didn't lead to their location, operations will continue Tuesday.

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Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor.
Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), the first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several other awards including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website, affiliated with Google News and several other major search engines and news aggregators.
You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




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