McLoughlin hiker airlifted after taking ill

MOUNT McLOUGHLIN — Rescue crews airlifted a Medford man off Mount McLoughlin on Wednesday after he apparently suffered dehydration during a hiking trip with his father.

Chris Myer, 25, and his father Harvey Myer, 48, set out in the afternoon but were stalled after Chris Myer became ill, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters said.

They managed to hike down to the 8,500-foot level just above the tree line before calling 9-1-1, Winters said.

"His condition worsened as they were climbing down," Winters said.

Rescue crews dispatched a helicopter carrying a Jackson County Fire District 3 paramedic. The paramedic was carried to the area on a 100-foot line attached to the helicopter and dropped near the Myers, Winters said.

"It was a rescue technique we practiced during our training exercise in June," Winters said.

Winters was referring to the California/Oregon Regional Search and Rescue (CORSAR) team training program introduced earlier this summer. The program pulled together several rescue teams in the region to streamline local rescue responses by having them train together.

The paramedic hooked Myer onto a line and he was airlifted to a parking lot at a trail head.

He was loaded onto a Mercy Flights helicopter and flown to Rogue Valley Medical Center, where he remained late Wednesday in fair condition.

An incoming lightning storm brought a sense of urgency to the rescue, Winters said.

"We used the helicopter to expedite the operation because we didn't want to hike up there in a dangerous storm," Winters said.

Winters praised the Myers for calling 9-1-1 early into their ordeal. Had they waited, rescue crews may have had to battle weather and darkness while trying to locate the men.

"Whenever you start to have trouble, call us as soon as you can," Winters said. "Had they waited a little longer, we would've been out there late into the night."

Winters also recommends bringing along a phone with GPS capabilities, which makes it easier for emergency responders to track the location of the call.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471, or e-mail

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