A Happy Valley man hiking the Pacific Crest Trail injured himself Wednesday afternoon, prompting a multi-agency search and rescue effort to find and help him.
According to Deputy Josh Westfall of Deschutes County SAR, dispatch received a call at 12:39 from a family member of a solo hiker on the PCT. The family remember had reportedly received a distress message from the hiker, 34-year-old Cory Mills, who said he had gone off trail to hike The Husband (mountain) but a rock had fallen on him causing injuries.
The message also stated 911, but further details about Mills or his location wasn’t available.
The family member called 911 and two Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Deputies were dispatched to the call. Attempts to contact Mills via cell phone were not successful and the cell phone carrier was not able to provide coordinates for his location. Further attempts to ascertain Mills’ coordinates via other resources were not successful.
Due to the circumstances, including unknown injuries to Mills, AirLink and Life Flight were contacted for assistance but were not able to fly due to inclement weather.
Additionally due to jurisdiction, deputies contacted the Lane County Sheriff’s Office to advise them of the call and to help coordinate the rescue.
Lane County responded by sending in two ground search and rescue teams—one from the north and one from the west—while the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue sent a ground team of six volunteers in from Devil’s Lake Trailhead to the PCT.
Two DCSO Deputies remained in headquarters to continue to coordinate the rescue.
The DCSO SAR volunteers located Mills on the PCT in Lane County about 4.5 miles from the Devil’s Lake Trailhead.
Mills had been hiking his way out with non-life-threatening injuries and was unable to send out further messages due to poor cell phone service in that area. Mills was evaluated and treated on scene by DCSO SAR medics.
He was then assisted back to the Devil’s Lake Trailhead arriving at approximately 9:30 pm where he declined further medical assistance. Mills was transported to St. Charles Bend by a friend for further treatment.
Mills was well equipped for his hike and provided family members with his route. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office would like to encourage the public to consider alternate communication devices due to unreliable cell phone coverage while recreating in the wilderness.
Image courtesy Deschutes County Search and Rescue