The Green River Gorge provides spectacular scenery and abundant recreational opportunities, but it can also be a dangerous place.
That was proved true twice last week as emergency crews were summoned to perform rescues beneath the Kummer Bridge. Making things dicey for first responders was the rugged terrain under the bridge – steep canyon walls and heavy vegetation – which links Enumclaw and Black Diamond as part of state Route 169.
About 4:30 p.m. Thursday, several regional rope rescue teams were called to action when an adult female fell approximately 60 feet from a trail above the Green River. She was with one other person when she slipped off the trail that runs under the bridge.
When firefighters arrived, they found a man on the bridge who led them to the woman. She was able to talk to the first responders when they called down to her. The first team rappelled to her and confirmed she had no life-threatening injuries.
Using a hoisting system, it took rescue teams approximately one hour to get the woman up to the trail, due to the heavy brush and trees growing on the hillside. More than 10 technical rescue firefighters were part of the rescue.
The woman was transported to a local hospital by ambulance after being evaluated by King County Medic One.
Thursday’s response was the second rescue of the week at the bridge. On Aug. 1, two teens and two adults fell from the trail in the same area. Those four also suffered only minor injuries, but also had to be brought back to the trail by firefighters using a hoisting system.
They reportedly tumbled from a height of about 15 feet.
In addition to the Enumclaw Fire Department and King County Medic One, the two rescue efforts brought help from Maple Valley Fire, Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority, South King Fire and Rescue, Renton Regional Fire Authority, Valley Regional Fire Authority, Tukwila Fire, the King County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington State Patrol.