UPDATED: Injured logger airlifted to hospital

12:25 p.m.

The injured logger has been rescued and is on his way to a Medford hospital, fire officials said.

The man, whose name has not yet been released, was injured when a section of tree about 24 inches in diameter rolled over him during logging operations on the Pilot Joe project in the Applegate Valley.

The logger was working about 500 feet down an embankment in Hinkle Gulch at the time of the accident. Rescue crews used a backboard and pulley system to lift him to safety.

The man told crews he had significant pain in his hip and back, said Chris Wolfard, fire operations chief with Applegate Valley Fire District No. 9. The injured man was transported by Mercy Flights helicopter to Rogue Regional Medical Center for treatment.

Crews received the initial call at 9:42 a.m. and were on scene by 10:21 a.m. The man was lifted up the embankment by 11:35 a.m.

“These types of things take a lot of time,” Wolfard said.

“They're very rare, and none of them are ever the same.”

The man was rescued in a remote, heavily forested and steep area several miles off Thompson Creek Road in the Applegate. He was a contracted tree faller working with HM Inc., owned by Ed Hanscom in Eagle Point.

Hanscom said his crew is trained in first aid and has regular safety meetings to prepare for accidents in the forest, which aren't common.

“It's been, I think, two to three years since we've had to pack anybody out,” he said. Crews are trained to help keep a victim calm until emergency personnel arrive, he said.

“It's pretty tough on these guys,” he said. “They don't like to see their buddies get dinged.

HM Inc. workers assisted in lifting the tree faller up the mountain.

“It was pretty tough,” said worker Ron Young.

11:40 a.m.

Fire crews are working to rescue a logger who lies injured 450 feet down an embankment near Hinkle Gulch in the Applegate Valley.

The logger is conscious and speaking to rescue crews, officials said. Firefighters from Applegate Fire Department, Oregon Department of Forestry and Jackson County Fire District No. 5 are now pulling the man on a stretcher up the embankment, witnesses on scene said. He will be flown out by a Mercy Flights helicopter that has landed nearby.

"There's definitely coordination" among the rescue crews, said Gary DeSimone, a firefighter with Applegate Fire. "They train for this."

Because of the terrain, rescue efforts must be "slow and steady," he said.

The terrain is steep and heavily forested, witnesses said.

The man was logging as part of the Pilot Joe forest restoration project in the Applegate Valley, one of five planned on the BLM's 2.5 million acres in Western Oregon.

— Ryan Pfeil

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