The family of a 32-year-old mountain climber is suing a county in Oregon after he fell and tumbled six hundred feet, and died after waiting four hours to be rescued.
John Thornton Jenkins, an experience climber form Seattle, was climbing Mount Hood with his girlfriend, Shawna Lamoree, on May 7, 2017. He fell near the summit at around 10:40am during a fair, sunny day on the snowy mountain.
In the family’s lawsuit, they say a series of missteps involving Clackamas County county and the county’s 911 call center, lead to a massive delay in getting Jenkins a helicopter rescue, and that if it weren’t for the delay he might still be alive today, according to The Oregonian.
About eight minutes after he fell, climber Jesse Cornett reached him and called 911.
Scroll for 911 call
John Jenkins, an experienced climber, died at 32-years-old when he tumbled 600 feet down a mountain and waited four hours for a rescue
Jenkins’ family is suing Clackamas county and the 911 dispatch center for $10million for what they say was a failure to rescue him in a timely manner
Jenkins, pictured with his girlfriend Shawna Lamoree, who was climbing with him when he fell
Cornett told the Washington Post that Jenkins was lucid and alert when he came upon him.
‘He’s busted up pretty bad it seems,’ Cornett told the 911 operator, according to a recording in a previous report by The Oregonian. ‘I don’t know if anything’s broken. He’s wearing a helmet but, you know, he went head over heels several times. … There’s some wilderness first responders here. I think this call may be premature, but I also wanted to get things in motion if necessary.’
However dispatch transferred the call to the Sheriff’s Office.
In turn the Clackmas County Sheriff told the caller to get in touch with ski patrol at the at the Timberline ski resort, even though Cornett stated Jenkins was not a skier and fell outside of the ski zone.
At 11:25am the ski patrol contacted the ocunty’s 911 call center, they again transferred the call to the Sheriff’s Office.
By 12:29pm a request was made for a helicopter via the Oregon Office of Emergency Management who called the Oregon Army National Guard at 12:29pm.
By the time the helicopter arrived it was 3:11pm, and Jenkins’ condition had greatly deteriorated.
The couple appeared to have several adventures together in the time they spent before Jenkins died
‘Seeing this guy who was fine … then four hours later watching the helicopter come in, this medic jumping out of the helicopter, hooking this guy up into the litter — at that point he couldn’t breathe,’ Cornett said.
‘He was gasping. He was crying. He was screaming. It was really rough.’
As the rescuers secured Jenkins to the basket to take him off the mountian he stopped breathing.
The lawsuit blames the county for failing to make a request for the helicopter as well as failing to tell other climbers to try for a ground rescue.
The suit is not faulting the Oregon Army National Guard for the time it took for a helicopter to reach Jenkins.