Climbers stranded for days on Mount Rainier rescued by helicopter

Climbers stranded for days on Mount Rainier rescued by helicopter

Four climbers were rescued from Mount Rainier on June 6 after calling 911 on June 3.

One of the climbers, Yevgeniy Krasnitskiy of Portland, told reporters “Don’t mess with Rainier.”

Krasnitskiy said this when he described the harrowing conditions that the four of them overcame. Their misfortune was brought about by unforeseen winds tearing through their camp on June 2. The wind took away some of their gear, as reported by the Seattle Times.

The four men in their 30s were saved by a helicopter the morning of June 6. They were transported to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center. Their injuries included altitude sickness and frostbite. All were released that evening, said hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg.

According to Mount Rainier National Park officials, stormy weather hampered five attempts at a helicopter rescue that Monday and Tuesday. The weather kept the helicopters down on Wednesday. That was why a park helicopter crew was not able to land on the mountain until that Thursday morning.

The climbers included Krasnitskiy, Vasily Aushev and Kostya “Constantine” Toporov of New York City; and Ruslan Khasbulatov of Jersey City, New Jersey.

Beginning their climb on May 31, the climbers camped low on the hazardous and technical Liberty Ridge route on the first night. But they were worried about rock fall, because a climber had lost his life recently at the routes usual high camp, according to Krasnitskiy.

They made the decision to skip the high camp, with the intention of spending a night near the summit. They began their trek on June 1 at 10 p.m.

The climbers made it through the high camp, at about 10,500 feet. But then one of them got altitude sickness, which impeded their progress.

By the next day, the sick climber was weary, and they were forced to make an unintended camp on steep snow.

Then the unexpected strong wind hit, shaking their camp and ripping and breaking their tent. Krasnitskiy’s pack, sleeping bag, shovel, and some food were lost.

“Everyone was hypothermic,” he said. “It was a cold night.”

The next day, June 3, they watched as the high winds kept a helicopter from reaching them.

In the mornings they drank tea, and they ate small portions of food and collectively drank one bottle of melted snow each day.

On June 4, rocks and snow dropped on their tent. A ball of ice hit one of the climbers while he was sleeping. When he woke up, he asked who had hit him, Krasnitskiy said.

The ice that fell smothered their tent platform and pressed them closer together. It was not possible to descend.

On June 5 they kept climbing.

“It really hit me, there are so many people out there thinking about us and have no idea what’s going on with us. We’re here. We’re alive. It’s miserable, but we’re alive,” Krasnitskiy said. As they continued climbing, he said he just kept yelling, “We have to get there.”

On that night, Krasnitskiy said they slept in a crevasse, which blocked the wind and was surprisingly comfortable.

On June 6, they started to lose hope.

“And then the helicopter arrived,” Krasnitskiy said.

The climbers were spotted about a half-mile from the place they had been found before. They were in a location far less affected by the wind and more accessible for a helicopter. According to CBS News, park officials said the route between the two sites requires expert and technical climbing, and the climbers “contributed greatly” to their own rescue.

Krasnitskiy, who has been a climber for 15 years, said he would climb Mount Rainier again.

“Every time I go up a mountain, it teaches me a lesson,” he said.

Read more about this story here.

To watch a brief interview with Krasnitskiy by KOIN 6, click here.



World’s smallest surviving micro-preemie discharged from hospital

World’s smallest surviving micro-preemie discharged from hospital

A little girl was born weighing only as much as an apple.

A hospital in San Diego revealed that the girl is believed to be the tiniest surviving micro-preemie in the world. She weighed only 8.6 ounces when she was born in December.

The girl, who nurses called “Saybie” was born 23 weeks and three days into her mother’s 40-week pregnancy. Saybie’s Father was told after her birth that he would only have an hour to be with his daughter before she passed away.

“But that hour turned into two hours, which turned into a day, which turned into a week,” the mother said in a video released by Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns, as reported by Mail Tribune.

It has been five months since Saybie was born and in late May she returned home from the hospital as a healthy infant. She was five pounds.

The hospital said that Saybie’s family wanted to remain anonymous, but they gave permission to share her story.

According to the Tiniest Baby Registry that is upheld by the University of Iowa, Saybie is the world’s smallest baby ever to survive.

Professor of pediatrics from the University of Iowa, Dr. Edward Bell, said that Saybie had the lowest medically confirmed birth weight submitted to the registry.

However, “we cannot rule out even smaller infants who have not been reported to the Registry,” he said in an email to The Associated Press.

The previous tiniest baby was born in Germany in 2015. But Saybie officially broke that record by weighing seven grams less.

In a video created by the hospital, the mother said that the birth was the scariest day of her life.

She said that she was taken to the hospital because she was not feeling well. When she got there, she was told that she had a damaging condition called preeclampsia, which causes the blood pressure to skyrocket. She needed to give birth right away.

“I kept telling them she’s not going to survive, she’s only 23 weeks,” the mother said.

But in her neonatal intensive care unit, Saybie did survive.

As she gained pounds over the months, a pink sign was placed by her crib. It read “Tiny but Might.”

“You could barely see her in the bed she was so tiny,” nurse Emma Wiest said in the video.

When Saybie was ready to leave the unit, nurses positioned a tiny graduation cap on her head.

The tiny little girl has massive challenges ahead of her as a micro-preemie, defined as an infant born before 28 weeks of gestation. Babies like Saybie can face vision and hearing problems, developmental issues and many other complications.

Michelle Kling, of March of Dimes, said that many micro-preemies don’t survive their first year. March of Dimes is a nonprofit that seeks to improve the health of mothers and babies.

To date, Saybie has defied the odds.

“She’s a miracle, that’s for sure,” said Kim Norby, another nurse featured in the video.

“I just want her to know how strong she is,” nurse Emily Wiest said. “There’s nothing she can’t do.”

For more information about this story, click here.

To watch the video, click here.

Woman rescued from Hawaii forest after being lost for 16 days

Woman rescued from Hawaii forest after being lost for 16 days

A woman was retrieved from a Hawaii forest after being lost for more than two weeks. She said that she had to choose between life and death in order to stay alive, as reported by ABC News.

“There were times of total fear and loss and wanting to give up, and it did come down to life and death, and I had to choose,” said Amanda Eller, 35, from her hospital bed, hours after rescuers plucked her from a ravine using a helicopter. “I chose life.”

After being lost for 16 days, Eller was found in decent condition on May 24 at about 5 p.m. local time.

Eller appreciated the Maui community, the volunteers who helped search for her, and the people who donated to help pay for the search.

“People that know me, that don’t know me, just under the idea of helping one person make it out of the woods alive just warms my heart,” she said in a video posted on the Facebook page “Find Amanda,” which was created after she went missing.

Eller’s mother, Julia Eller, told Fox affiliate KHON-TV that her daughter is recovering “remarkably” with just a fractured leg and needed treatment for her ankles.

“She had been working on herself — she’s a physical therapist by training, so apparently those healing touches had done her well. And they said for what she had been through, she was in surprisingly good shape,” Julia Eller said. “I’m just so incredibly grateful to have my girl home. I never gave up hope for a minute. And even though at times, you know, I would have those moments of despair, I stayed strong for her because I knew we would find her.”

Amanda Eller vanished after going on a hike on May 8. She is a yoga instructor and a physical therapist. The last person to see Eller that morning was her boyfriend. When she did not return he reported to the police that she was missing the next day.

Soon after she was reported missing, Eller’s SUV was found at the beginning of the Kahakapao Trail.

ABC News was told by Sarah Haynes, who operated the Facebook page, that Eller was found by a search helicopter on the afternoon of May 24. She was in a ravine close by Twin Falls. Haynes said that Eller was able to flag down the helicopter.

A member of the rescue team said they discovered her in a stream bed.

“She was waving up at us while we were in the helicopter, and we got her out nice and safe,” Chris Berquist, who was in the helicopter, told ABC News Radio late Friday.

Considering what she faced, Eller was in good condition. She spoke to her father when she was on the helicopter. After she reached the helipad an ambulance took her to Maui Memorial Hospital.

“She was very alert, she knew her father’s phone number, she knew who she was, where she was, knew exactly how long she had been out there — very surprised to see us,” Berquist said. “I’ve never felt something quite that overpowering.”

Haynes said that Eller had been living off water and plants.

“She was several miles above Twin Falls, over in deep H’aiku, way off the beaten track,” Berquist said.

Just a few hours before Eller was found, the reward for her return was upped to $50,000.

On May 16, Eller’s boyfriend, Benjamin Konkol, told ABC News that he believed she was still in the forest and that he did not suspect foul play.

“She’s my soulmate, she’s the love of my life and I feel that she’s still out there. … I’d really like to stop spending my evenings alone and have my love back,” he said at the time.

Haynes filmed a short video for Facebook, in which Eller thanks to her rescuers. She also talked about looking at the big picture of her ordeal.

“This is just a tiny little blip of my story and my life and it serves a much, much bigger purpose,” Eller said. “Seeing the power of prayer and the power of love when everybody combined their efforts is incredible. It can move mountains.”

“This was all about us coming together for a greater purpose of community and love, and appreciation for life,” Eller said.

To read more about this story, click here.

To view the video of Eller’s message to her rescuers, click here.



D-Day secret revealed by DNA test

D-Day secret revealed by DNA test

In Ludres, France, Andre Gantois had lost hope, after decades of searching.

Gantois, a retired French postal worker, thought he would die before he found out who his father was. He knew his father was a U.S. serviceman, who had struggled across France in the aftermath of the D-day landings, and was shot in the skull. Gantois’ father was brought back to health in a military hospital by Gantois’ mother.

But Gantois, in his 70s, had no leads and no name to help him in his search. This left him ill at ease.

“Throughout my life, I lived with this open wound,” he said, as reported by Ashland Tidings. “I never accepted my situation, of not knowing my father and, most of all, knowing that he didn’t know about me, didn’t know of my existence.”

On June 6, the United States, Europe and their allies will commemorate the day 75 years ago when 160,000 allied troops attacked a heavily-fortified 50-mile (80 kilometer) part of coastland occupied by the Nazis in Normandy. Respect and honor will be given to the surviving veterans, though they are few.

Because the fighting was so ruthless in France, thousands went missing or were not able to be identified pre-burial. Their graves were marked, “A comrade in arms known but to God.”

On all sides there were soldiers who fathered tens of thousands of children. Many of those children could not answer the question: Where did I come from?

Until a few months ago, Gantois, was in that position. That is, until a self-proclaimed ‘miracle’ altered his life and solved one of the mysteries of wartime history.

Growing up after the war in eastern France, Gantois would draw a line on paperwork that required his father’s signature. His mother and grandmother lied to him, saying that his father was killed in France’s war in Vietnam that took place in 1946, the year Gantois was born. Gantois’ grandmother told him that his father’s name was Jack. Not knowing that he was being lied to, Gantois ignored the elderly neighbors who dubbed him “the young American” or “the American’s kid.”

When Gantois was 15, his mother died of tuberculosis at age 37. Finally, he got the truth.

“‘Listen, Andre, I have to tell you,’” the 73-year-old Gantois remembers his grandmother admitting to him. “‘Your dad was an American, in the war.’”

Gantois did not know what to do at first. When he reached his twenties, he was strongly motivated to find out more.

With a wife and intention to begin a family of his own, Gantois deeply desired to fill in the missing pieces of his past.

“He had no name, nothing to go on,” his wife Rosine said. “He told me, ‘I’ll die without ever knowing who he was.’”

Visiting U.S. offices in France was not helpful.

Gantois remembers that an embassy official told him: “A lot of people are looking for their fathers, because they want money, they want to be compensated by the U.S. government. But you have to have proof.”

Gantois did not have proof. Then, last June, influenced by his daughter-in-law, Gantois took a DNA test.

Several weeks later she called him with astounding results.

“‘You have an American brother, a sister, a whole family,’” Gantois recollected her words. “I didn’t know what to say.”

The test had revealed that his dad, Wilburn ‘Bill’ Henderson, had been from Essex, Missouri. Henderson, as an infantryman, had landed on Omaha beach on what seems to be just after D-Day. He made it through Normandy and received a wound to the head soon before the war ended. It was then that he met Irene Gantois at a hospital in occupied Germany.

When Germany surrendered in May 1945, Henderson came to visit Irene Gantois in eastern France where she lived. But it appears she didn’t tell him that she was pregnant with his child. Henderson returned to the United States, married someone else and never told his children about Irene. He died in 1997.

The story would have ended there. But Gantois’ American half-brother, Allen Henderson, also took a DNA test because he was interested in what the results would be. They both happened to pick the same testing company, which made it possible for them to be linked. The two men met last September, along with Gantois’ half-sister, Judy.

Gantois and Henderson are thankful that their father survived Normandy and its aftermath.

“When I was little, he was always telling me stories about being in France and he’d speak a little French and kind of talk about how it was like to lay in a foxhole and guns, bullets flying over your head and guys dying all around you,” said 65-year-old Henderson, who resides in Greenville, South Carolina. “Amazing that he survived.”

To read more of this story click here.

Parkrose High School coach tackles armed student

Parkrose High School coach tackles armed student

A former wide receiver for the Oregon Ducks has been pronounced a hero after tackling a potential shooter at Parkrose High School on May 17.

Keanon Lowe, who works as a football and track coach as well as a security guard at the school, confronted and overcame a student who took a concealed rifle to class. Lowe tackled the student before he was able to point or fire the weapon.

“When I signed up to be a Security Guard, Football and Track & Field Coach for Parkrose High School, I did so to guide and coach young people whose shoes I had once been in. I had no idea, that I would one day have to put my life on the line like I did yesterday for my students,” Lowe tweeted on Saturday, as reported by The Washington Post.

“I didn’t see any other choice but to act,” Lowe said in a tweet. “I’ve spent the last 24 hours being more appreciative of my family and realizing we have a serious problem.”

“I’m blessed to be alive and extremely happy that the students are safe. I’m not sure what’s next, I haven’t had the time to really think about it,” Lowe said. “But I am sure I want to be a part of the solution to school gun violence.”

Parkrose students told school officials about the classmate who demonstrated troubling behavior in the days prior to the event. The student hinted that he wanted to hurt himself and obtain firearms, according to The Oregonian.

Lowe searched for the troubled student in his government class, but did not find him, according to other classmates. With ten minutes remaining in the class, police said 18-year-old Angel Granados Dias showed up in a long coat and revealed that he had a rifle. Students and teachers escaped the classroom through a back door.

“A Portland Police School Resource Officer and other officers arrived and immediately entered the school and found the staff member detaining the subject in the hallway,” police said in a statement.

Lowe thanked the Portland Police for their help.

Lowe is in his second year working at Parkrose High School. He formerly worked as an offensive analyst for the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles. He also coached at Jesuit high in Portland, his alma mater.

Attending University of Oregon from 2010 to 2014, Lowe was a three-year starter at wide receiver. He caught 68 passes for 891 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Proclaimed the “team’s most inspirational player” as a redshirt senior, Lowe earned a reputation as a fan favorite. The fans admired him because of his unselfish blocking habits and triumphant celebrations of teammates’ accomplishments.

Parkrose football players said that Lowe had already made a big impact on the school despite his brief time there, according to The Oregonian.

After students were reunited with their parents, Lowe told police that he was tired and that he wanted to see his own loved ones. As reported by The Oregonian, two men stopped to shake Lowe’s hand while they were in the parking lot. One woman hugged him and said, “Thank you.”

“I’m just happy everyone was okay,” he told reporters. “I’m happy I was able to be there for the kids and for the community.”

Read more about this story here.

To read several Tweets directed to Lowe, click here.