A hiker in Washington state was rescued Monday after he became trapped beneath a refrigerator-sized boulder in rugged terrain.
Ben Delahunty, of Montana, was hiking with a pal in the Lake Viviane area of the Washington Enchantments when he became wedged under the massive rock, the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office said.
The 28-year-old’s wrist and legs were pinned by the boulder, which was too large for Delahunty and his hiking partner to move on their own, the release stated.
The unnamed partner called RiverCom dispatch for help at 9:30 a.m., but it took another three hours for rescuers to reach the duo, who were several hours from the trailhead, said police.
“The crews that were inserted immediately found this rescue had additional challenges,” the sheriff’s office said.
Delahunty was trapped in an area that needed ropes to safely access, but there was a major risk of fall for rescuers who worked on lifting the boulder using helicopter air bladders.
Delahunty was finally freed at 2:50 p.m., just as whipping winds began picking up.
“By the time Mr. Delahunty was freed from the boulder, winds had picked making the first attempt to hoist him from his position and an attempt to pick him up from a nearby landing zone unsuccessful,” police said.
Rescuers were forced to wait until 4:45 p.m. to try another helicopter hoist attempt, which proved successful.
The Wenatchee Valley Fire Department shared dramatic footage of the lift, which showed winds kicking up dust and shaking mountain trees as one responder uses his body to cover and protect Delahunty’s face.
Delahunty was taken to a nearby hospital with significant injuries to one leg but is expected to recover.
It took rescuers from eight different departments to save Delahunty. The last on-the-ground team members hiked back from the scene, making it to the trailhead at 11 p.m.
“This rescue presented challenges not seen very often and could not have been accomplished without the partnerships established with local and out-of-area agencies,” the sheriff’s office said.