Monday, April 21, 2008

Snowmobiler survives fall into Mount St. Helens

A snowmobiler from Oregon suffered an injured leg but survived a fall of up to 200 feet into the crater of Mount St. Helens on Saturday.

Skamania County Undersheriff Dave Cox says 52-year-old John Slemp, from Damascus, Ore., was on one of three snowmobiles that climbed to the west crater rim.

Cox says Slemp got off his snowmobile and walked out onto a cornice overhanging the crater when it gave way.

He reportedly fell 100 to 200 feet before landing on the inside slope of the crater. He then slid on his hands and knees to the bottom of the crater.

He was wearing his snowmobile helmet, and Cox said there is a heavy snowpack in the area, so snow may have broken his fall.

Officials were notified at 5:20 p.m., and a private helicopter flew two paramedics to the crater and located Slemp about 7 p.m.

He had an injured leg, but was able with assistance to get to the helicopter and be flown out to Yacolt.

His exact condition and whether he required transport to a hospital weren't immediately known.

Cox says the U.S. Forest Service will investigate the incident.


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