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Tacoma man found alive on Mount Rainier, grateful family issues statement

Post by Craig Hill / The News Tribune on Jan. 16, 2012 at 7:51 am |
January 16, 2012 11:47 pm


UPDATE, 11:46 p.m. – Yong Kim was evacuated at 11 p.m. and was in good enough condition that he didn’t not need to travel to a hospital, park spokeswoman Lee Taylor said. Instead, he is going home.

UPDATE, 10:20 p.m. – Yong Kim was the second save in three days for one rescuer.

UPDATE, 10 p.m. – Just spoke with Stefan Lofgren at Mount Rainier National Park. He said Kim is out of the backcountry and awaiting snow cat transportation on closed Stevens Canyon Road.

Here is a statement released moments ago by the Kim’s son, Malcom An:

On behalf of the Kim and An families, I would like to sincerely thank the entire collaborative team involved in the tremendous effort to save my father.  Through selfless, extraordinary acts, the search and rescue teams beat incredible odds to successfully find my lost father.


We were truly impressed with how well the project was organized and executed.  It is clear that Search and Rescue has come a very long way, built upon a long history and utilizing the latest technologies today as well.  Even before we had arrived, the team had developed a complex plan, and constantly adjusted with new information.  The coordination between the people in the field, the operations center, and our family was flawless.  We all recognize that this was a miracle from God, but clearly, a miracle assisted by his good people.

With that being said, my family and I would like to convey our most sincere gratitude to the entire National Park Service staff at Mount Rainier for their leadership, resources, and excellent communication.  Just a few names among many include Stefan Lofgren, and John Piastuck (NPS Search Team leaders), Chuck Young (Chief Park Ranger), Rebecca Roland and Mary Wysong (Family Liaison Rangers).  Unfortunately, we were not able to thank and interface with the entire team in person, but we know that there were over 100 different people searching for my father each day and most of them were volunteers!  We would like to send our deepest gratitude to all the Mountain Search and Rescue Teams including: Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Olympic, Volcano, Central Washington, and Portland, along with the three German Shepherd Search Dog Teams from around the state.  We would also like to thank the Ski Patrols from Crystal Mt., NPS Nordic Patrol, and the Emergency Medical Teams from both Washington and Oregon.  The response from around the area was amazing!  Just knowing that these people cared, giving up so much for my father touched all of our family and friends throughout the entire ordeal.  Lastly, sincere thanks to our family, friends, and church for their thoughts, prayers, and support from the beginning.

A terrible situation that could have ended in tragedy, instead turned into another beautiful example of how Americans come together to help each other.  Not for monetary gain or other selfish reasons, but because as a community, we care about each other.  In the end, God works in mysterious ways and we would like to especially thank our Lord, God for good people, his grace, and the love that ended up saving my father today.


UPDATE, 2:10 p.m.Rescuers have found snowshoer Yong Chun Kim alive, park spokeswoman Lee Taylor said. He is in stable condition and still in remote terrain, Taylor said. He is conscious and alert and it will likely take rescuers several hours to evacuate him, Taylor said. Kim will be taken to hospital. Rescuers found him at about 1:40 p.m. at the upper end of the Steven Creek drainage.

“I think it’s fair to say this is miraculous,” Taylor said.

Kim was found Mount Rainier patrol ranger Jordan Mammel and two volunteers from the Crystal Mountain Ski Patrol, Pat Fleming and Everett Phillips.


Check back for more information.


UPDATE – At 9:19 a.m., a statement released by Mount Rainier National Park superintendent Randy King: “We are grateful for the assistance we are getting from so many different organizations. Hopefully with their help we will locate Mr. Kim today.” Organizations helping with the search include staff from Mount Rainier, Olympic, and North Cascades national parks; Crystal Mountain Ski Patrol; German Shepherd Search Dogs of Washington State; Volcanoes Rescue Team; and Mountain Rescue Units from Tacoma, Seattle, Olympic (Bremerton), Portland, and Central Washington.

The search party for the Tacoma man missing at Mount Rainier National Park has grown to more than 90 people today.

The searchers are from various places including Mount Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic national parks and the Tacoma, Olympic (Bremerton, Portland and Central Washington mountain rescue units. German Shepherd search dogs and members of the Crystal Mountain ski patrol are also helping with the search.

Yong Chun Kim, 66, has been missing since Saturday when he slipped down a steep slope while leading a group of 16 snowshoers in a hike above Paradise.

Instead of climbing back up the slope, he planned to hike around and meet the group farther down the trail. The group returned to Paradise at 2 p.m. Kim was carrying a radio and last contacted the group at 2:30, stating that he was OK and on his way.

When he did not arrive by 3 p.m., park service officials launched a search that lasted until 9 p.m.

The search is currently focused on the Stevens Creek drainage area. Backcountry campers told searchers yesterday of tracks they saw leading down the drainage.

The road to Paradise is closed above Longmire today.





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