Injured hiker activates locator beacon, rescued after fall near Mt. Jefferson

Injured hiker activates locator beacon, rescued after fall near Mt. Jefferson
Mt. Jefferson (File photo, Paul Mather)

MOUNT JEFFERSON, Ore. – Rescuers used a helicopter to hoist an injured hiker to safety near Mount Jefferson early Saturday morning.

Michael Smilenski, 56, activated a personal locator beacon Friday night after he fell about 100 feet and was unable to hike out on his own.

The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, located in Panama City, Florida, saw the beacon activation and alerted the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. The coordination center learned there was a beacon registered to Smilenski, who lives in the Detroit, Ore. area.

Marion County sheriff’s deputies spoke with Smilenski’s friends, who said he left to hike Mount Jefferson on Friday but they did not know what trail he was taking.

Rescuers in a National Guard helicopter located Smilenski around 10 p.m. after they saw a light he was using as a signal. They called another helicopter that was capable of a rescue operation to the area.

Smilenski was rescued and flown to Salem just before 2:30 a.m.

The sheriff’s office says Smilenski is an experienced hiker and was prepared for different conditions on the mountain.