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Last body brought down from Mount Hood

Oregon National Guard crew members load a survivor of a climbing accident on Mount Hood, onto a helicopter Thursday.  

GOVERNMENT CAMP, Oregon (CNN) -- In a recovery effort hampered by icy conditions and rattled by a harrowing helicopter crash the day before, a team climbed Mount Hood Friday and retrieved the body of a climber -- the last of three killed in a fall into a crevasse.

Two bodies were retrieved Thursday night.

The dead have been identified as:

  • William Gordon Ward, 49, of Forest Grove, Oregon
  • Richard Thomas Read, 48, of Forest Grove, Oregon
  • John Alvin Biggs, 62, of Windsor, California.
  • Six other climbers were injured after slipping in a chain reaction accident as they closed in on the summit of Oregon's highest mountain Thursday.

    The number of injured rose Thursday when a rescue helicopter, poised to carry out one of the climbers, spun out of control and crashed into the side of the mountain, tumbling 1,000 feet. No one was killed in the crash; the pilot moved the chopper away from two paramedics on the ground and was able to release the cable holding a critically injured climber.

    A helicopter crashes as it tries to rescue climbers trapped on Mt. Hood in Oregon. Three climbers died; all copter passengers survived. (May 31)

    Play video
    Photo sequence of the helicopter crash 
    HH-60G Pave Hawk description 

    "If it wasn't for the heroic acts of the pilot ....we would have probably had far more casualties than we had," Sgt Nick Watt with Clackamas County Sheriff's Office said in a Friday press conference.

    The cause of the crash is under investigation.

    Of the six crew members on the Air Force Reserve HH-60 Pave Hawk from the 939th Rescue Wing, three remain hospitalized. One was reported in serious condition, one in good condition and the third in fair condition. Two were treated and released from Portland's Legacy Emanuel Hospital, Watt said. The sixth was treated at the scene.

    Virginia Slutter, the mother of one of the hikers, was grateful her son was rescued. "We're lucky he's alive," she said.

    Harry Slutter, 43, a married father of two sons from New York City, was one of nine hikers on the mountainside when they fell into the crevasse Thursday morning. His mother said he was hiking with a group of friends when "it went bad."

    Slutter was being treated for a broken jaw and laceration at Oregon Health and Science University Hospital in Portland. He was in fair condition.

    In addition to Slutter and the nine people treated at Legacy Emanuel, one other man was treated and released by Portland Adventist Hospital.

    "Things, I thought were running smooth until the helicopter went down and at that time, I can't even tell you what my feelings were, because I had to change my whole approach, and I had to contact all the para rescuers I could get my hands on, "Watt said. "And it was stressful, very stressful, I'm glad it worked out the way it did, I'm glad that they helicopter crew men are alive today."

    The climbers were with others in a group just 800 feet from Mount Hood's summit when they fell, Capt. Jamie Karn said. Karn said weather conditions at the time of the climbing accident were "absolutely beautiful -- a clear, sunny day."

    Four climbers slipped and fell at about the 11,100-foot level, officials said. That group slid into a party of two, and the two combined groups slid into a party of three, pushing all nine into the Bergschrund crevasse.

    Government Camp is about 50 miles east of Portland, in the Cascade Mountains.

    The first climbers who were evacuated to Legacy Emanuel before the helicopter accident were:

  • Christopher Kern, 40, from Long Island, N.Y., who was in serious condition with a broken pelvis, shoulder, leg and wrist.
  • Thomas Hillman, 45, from northwest California, who was in serious condition with a head injury and multiple contusions.
  • Jeremiah Moffitt, 26, with Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, is in good condition with a possible broken hand and lacerations.
  • The injured military rescue personnel who remain hospitalized are:

  • Andrew Canfield, 28, is in good condition with abrasions to face and neck muscle injuries.
  • Martin Mills, 36, is in serious condition with a broken wrist, internal injuries and a possible broken leg.
  • Darrin Shore, 43, has a left leg fracture and a rib fracture and is in fair condition.
  • Four men -- Grant Dysle, 34, Ross Wilson, 37, both military personnel, and Kelvin Scribner, 37, and Jeffrey Pierce, 38 both climbers, were treated and released.

    Cole Joiner, 14, -- a climber who was not among the nine and reached safety before rescuers arrived -- said he fell into the crevasse, but "climbed out with an ice axe."

    "I couldn't see anything as I was falling. I just remember my feet going over and just looking up and then just hitting the back wall of the crevasse," he said.

    Cole's father, Cleve, a firefighter was also on the mountain when the accident occurred, was the first to call 9-1-1 after the accident. Joiner said he was "pretty much resigned to the fact" that his son was dead, but found out "10 minutes later that (my son) was actually up and walking around and helping out down there with the injured."

    Mount Hood is closed to climbers above the 8700-foot mark for "at least 24-48 hours more," Watt said at Friday's press conference.

    Last week, an Argentinean snowboarder on Mount Hood was killed after he slid off a glacier trying to go down the wrong side of the mountain.


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