2 Wash. state teenagers die after fall during hike

AP News
Posted: Sep 17, 2012 8:46 PM
2 Wash. state teenagers die after fall during hike

SEATTLE (AP) — Two teenage boys died during a hike in the mountains east of Seattle after falling about 100 feet from some rocks near a waterfall, authorities said Monday.

The two, ages 18 and 16, were with two other boys who had gone hiking to Otter Falls in the Snoqualmie National Forest on Sunday.

One of the boys fell first and the other fell moments later when he looked back at what had happened, the King County Sheriff's office said Monday.

After the fall, one of the other boys ran for help and came upon two hikers, who went to the site to help. The boy continued running down the trail — a total of about five miles — until he found a U.S. Forest Service employee.

"This is a very tragic situation," Sheriff's Sgt. Cindi West said. "There is no cell service in the area, so it is likely that the Forest Service employee had to drive down the mountain to call 911."

The King County Examiner's Office on Monday afternoon identified the victims as 18-year-old Benjamin Skagen and 16-year-old Andrew Lusink.

The group was made up of three 18-year-olds and the 16-year-old, West said. The boy who ran for assistance was the brother of one of the boys who fell.

The two hikers who went to help stayed with the injured boys, built a fire and performed CPR on the two boys when they stopped breathing, West said. But by the time rescue teams reached the boys Sunday night, they had died.

"Imagine if you'd be the only one up there not knowing what to do and especially on your own," West said.

West estimated that it was at least one hour after the boys had fallen before the call for aid was made at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

King County personnel were mobilized, with rescue crews hiking in as well as some rappelling from a helicopter from Snohomish County.

The boys' bodies were retrieved Monday morning, West said. The two survivors were with their families.