Mount Jefferson hiker rescued after 100 foot fall

Beacon signal detected by Florida Air Force base

Mount Jefferson, Ore. (Wiki Commons)ac
Mount Jefferson, Ore. (Wiki Commons)ac

CORVALLIS, Ore. (KOIN 6) — A 56-year-old man from Detroit, Ore. was rescued late Friday night on one of Oregon’s highest, most rugged mountains after falling 100 feet.

Michael Smilenski’s personal locator beacon signal was picked up by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center in Panama City, Florida and officials at the base relayed the information to Marion County Sheriff’s officials. Due to his injuries from the fall, he could not hike out.

The beacon was traced to Smilenski, and officials learned from his friends he had left to hike up Mount Jefferson Saturday.

A Personal Locator Beacon is similar to locating devices which are used on aircraft, but for personal use. It is recommended anyone traveling into the back country carry one.

Linn and Marion County Search and Rescue crews, along with a helicopter from the Oregon National Guard searched for Smilenski — whose vehicle was parked at the trail head — and were able to locate him just after 10 p.m. However, another helicopter was needed to conduct the rescue. Smilenski was signaling with a green light.

He was taken to the hospital in Salem just after 2:30 a.m.

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