SHELTON, Wash. -- A rescue team has successfully saved a man stranded 400 feet under a bridge along the Skokomish River about 14 miles northwest of Shelton Friday.
Mason County Sheriff Chief Deputy Dean Byrd said the man somehow fell down a steep cliff into the river under a high steel bridge. The man managed to pull himself out of the river, but was stranded on a rock in the middle of the water.
Byrd said the man was in his 20s and from the Olympia area. He was uninjured but cold and wet and could be seen jumping up and down to stay warm as the swift river current swirled around him.
The Olympic Mountain Rescue squad gathered at the top of the bridge to work out a game plan. About 30 minutes later, thick fog rolled into the river valley, obscuring the area.
Rescuers had to contend with darkness as they lowered one of their own over the edge of the bridge down to the canyon floor below. The rescue team successfully hoisted the rescuer and the man safely onto the bridge by 6:30 p.m. The man was cold but otherwise ok.
The area is the same location where a Whidbey Island Navy helicopter crew rescued a 15-year-old girl who had fallen into the river canyon last August.
The man reportedly was hiking with a friend when he fell into the river. That friend called authorities for help.
Byrd said that area of the canyon is closed to the public. People caught walking in the canyon could be charged by the Forest Service with trespassing and other violations. Under federal law, people can also be charged with rescue fees.