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Contact: Amy Vanderbilt, 406 888-5838
Contact: Wade Muehlhof, 406 888-7895
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Glacier National Park rangers rescued a construction worker after a 35-foot fall Monday, September 13, 2010. The worker was operating a small excavator when it became unbalanced and fell from Going-to-the-Sun Road (Sun Road) about 9:30 a.m. near the East Tunnel one mile east of Logan Pass.
The victim is 33 year-old Wainuma Ned from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Ned is an employee of Guinett Masonry, Inc. of Vancouver, WA, one of the sub-contractors working for HK Contractors Inc. on the Sun Road rehabilitation project. The worker was moving rocks when the accident happened.
Witnesses say he jumped clear of the equipment as it fell over the edge of the road. The victim free-fell about 35 feet then slid and tumbled down the hill ending up about 100 feet below the Sun Road on a scree or loose rock debris field. The excavator stayed in front of the driver and tumbled to the bottom of the scree field about 200 feet further down the embankment.
Witnesses say the man was able to stand and briefly walk after the fall. Co-workers immediately scrambled down the rocks to the victim and kept him still and warm. Shortly after, park rangers and medical personnel were able to climb down to the man. Ned was stabilized in a litter and pulled up to the road using ropes.
Park rangers moved Ned to the Sun Road, where the Babb ambulance crew transported the victim to Logan Pass. The ALERT helicopter crew flew the victim to Kalispell Regional Medical Center. The National Park Service was assisted in the rescue by Glacier County EMS, Babb Fire and Rescue, Border Patrol and HK Contractors Inc.
The victim was conscious throughout the incident. No other medical information is available at this time. The excavator is in pieces but the gas tank remains intact. An investigation into the accident is underway.
- NPS -