A college student was located Thursday after he fell several hundred feet while climbing an Oregon mountain.
Joel Tranby was climbing North Sister in the Cascade Mountains with his girlfriend early Monday afternoon when he fell about 300 to 500 feet and was severely injured.
While Tranby’s girlfriend was able to use her phone to call for help, she could not see where Tranby had landed, authorities said.
“Unfortunately, he stopped responding verbally before searchers arrived,” Lane County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Tom Speldrich told The Associated Press.
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Search and rescue personnel used drone video to locate the body of the 21-year-old and were able to spot it with their own eyes from a helicopter Thursday morning, according to the sheriff.
The sheriff’s office said the loose, steep and rocky terrain made reaching Tranby on foot impossible, and police were consulting expert climbers to determine if a recovery mission can be conducted safely.
The rescue effort included an Oregon National Guard Blackhawk helicopter, mountain rescue teams, a high-resolution camera and a small drone.
“We are saddened by this loss of life and extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends,” the sheriff’s office said.
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North Sister stands at more than 10,000 feet and is known to be a difficult climb because of the loose volcanic rock and the lack of places to anchor ropes, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
“There are too many stories to tell right now that confirm how God truly did orchestrate the right people to come together and go up there yesterday and to guide them to look in the correct spot. The spotters from the helicopter were able to see Joel and confirmed that he is no longer with us. Joel has gone to be with the Lord,” Tranby’s mother April Tranby said on Facebook Thursday. She had been posting updates to social media since Monday.
“Please pray. Joel and his girlfriend, Fiona, went to climb North Sister today. Around noon, he fell about 300 feet, then at 2:00 fell another unknown distance. He was able to talk after first fall, but very badly injured. We have no contact with him after [the] second fall,” she said.
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Tranby, whose Facebook says he was a student at Oregon State University, loved the outdoors and was a big part of the community in Bend, helping coach his former high school’s Nordic Ski Team, according to KTVZ-TV. The station said his parents reported they were “devastated by the loss.”
“Joel was doing something he loved, with the person he loved, in the outdoors and we know that brought him joy,” April and David Tranby said in a statement shared with KTVZ-TV.