Observer staff

One man was airlifted to a local hospital after being suspended 20 feet in the air for two days north of Hwy 244 today.

According to a press release from the Union County Sheriff’s Office, a hunter came across a man who had fallen from his tree stand and was tangled in his safety harness, hanging upside down.

The incident occurred north of Hwy 244, northwest of the Frazier and Four Corners area. The hunter had to drive to the highway to get cell phone reception to call 911.

The La Grande Fire Department responded to the scene and the dispatchers also called the Umatilla County first responders and Union County Search and Rescue to the scene. SAR is trained and equipped for high angle/rope rescue, according to the release.

The man was located and a technical rescue began with the assistance from Pendleton ambulance, Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office, US Forest Service and OTEC personnel.

Due to being tangled in his safety harness, which cuts off regular blood flow, the man suffered compartment syndrome.

According to LGFD Capt. Robert Tibbetts, compartment syndrome is the release of blood flow after a prolonged period of time, which will negatively impact the pH levels in the body, which then turns life threatening.

Tibbetts said in this incident, the rescuers were prepared for compartment syndrome to set in and had an Oregon Trail Electric Co-Op boom truck bucket to transfer the patient into once it set in. The man did lose consciousness halfway through the rescue and his heart stopped beating, according to the release.

A landing zone was set up for the rescue and he was taken to a nearby hospital. His name and his condition are not known at this time, according to the release.

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