A Prineville man suffered serious spinal injuries Sunday after a fall while hiking in the Crooked River Canyon and his hiking partner was hurt trying to help him, according to the Crook County Sheriff’s Office.
Sgt. Sergeant Jacob Childers said a sergeant with the CCSO was dispatched about 1:00 p.m. to to a serious-injury incident involving an accidental fall in the Crooked River Canyon on Hwy. 27 South near mile post 12, across from Castle Rock Campground.
Upon arriving, the sergeant, accompanied by Crook County Fire Rescue personnel hiked east of the Crooked River Highway up the steep grade to the base of the rim rock, approximately 250 feet above the highway, Childers said.
The extremely steep and rocky terrain was wet/slippery and created significant dangers for responding personnel. The Sergeant and Crook County Fire Rescue personnel located two victims about 200 yards north of the campground at the base of the rock.
It was determined that the victims, 40-year-old Daniel E. Hibbitts and 41-year-old Theresa L. Mick, both of Prineville, had driven from Prineville to the Castle Rock Campground.
The two crossed the highway and hiked to the base of the rim rock. They then climbed up the vertical / wet rock and onto a ledge, approximately 30 feet above the ground. While sitting on the ledge, a portion of rock broke loose, causing Hibbitts to fall 30 feet to the ground. Hibbitts landed on his back and a 5-10 lb. rock fell on his chest. Mick then began scrambling down to assist Hibbitts but she slipped and fell about 12 feet. She was unable to walk due to her significantly injured ankle; however, she was able to call 911 and request help, Childers said.
Hibbitts was determined to have a serious spinal related injury. He was immobilized and placed on a backboard. Childers said. Mick was stable; however, she was unable to move on her own.
Due to the steep terrain and the dangers associated with moving the injured persons, Crook County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue personnel and Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue personnel were summoned to the scene. After arriving, Deschutes County Search and Rescue teams were able to utilize high angle technical rescue techniques to safely lower the victim’s to safety. Hibbitts was taken by Air-Link helicopter to St. Charles in Bend.
Theresa was transported via Crook County Fire Rescue Ambulance to St. Charles in Prineville.
The Crook County Sheriff’s Office would like remind those seeking to enjoy the many outdoor opportunities offered in Central Oregon to exercise good judgment. The Sheriff’s Office recommends that those interested in hiking the scenic Crooked River Canyon stay on established trails and avoid hiking below the rim rock, as rock often falls from above and can seriously injure or kill persons below. The Sheriff’s Office also discourages any person from climbing in the Crooked River Canyon.
The Crook County Sheriff’s Office sincerely appreciates the response and assistance provided by members of Crook County Fire Rescue, Crook County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue, and Air-Link.