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2002 Rescue: Olson and Hahn finally honored today

Post by Craig Hill / The News Tribune on May 6, 2009 at 9:36 am with No Comments »
May 6, 2009 9:36 am

Dave Hahn and Chris Olson were honored today in Washington D.C. for their part in a 2002 rescue. Hahn won the Citizen’s Award for Bravery and Mount Rainier climbing ranger Chris Olson received the Valor Award from the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Hahn could not attend the ceremony because he is climbing on Mount Everest.

Here’s the story we did on the rescue in 2002:


The News Tribune

When the rescue helicopter lost its tail rotor, yanking it off Mount Rainier’s Carbon Glacier and sending it spinning madly, mountain guide Dave Hahn could only hang on and hope.

“It started spinning faster and harder, and it was obvious we were going down,” Hahn said a day after Tuesday’s accident. “There was a moment or two when I thought I was dead.”

In the end, Hahn walked away without a scratch.

Also unhurt were the chartered helicopter’s pilot, whose name was not released, and climbing ranger Chris Olson, who ducked his head moments before the craft’s transmission crashed through the roof.

Details of the high-altitude accident emerged Wednesday as shaken participants gave eyewitness accounts, investigators prepared to study the cause of the crash and crews planned to lift the wreckage off the mountain.

The crash of the single-engine Bell Jet Ranger helicopter occurred as a second set of rescuers hurried to the aid of Jesse Whitcomb, a Pennsylvania teenager who had been hit in the head by a falling boulder while climbing Mount Rainier’s Liberty Ridge.

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