Mt. Hood, OR Hikers Fall Into 40 Foot Crevasse, July 1956


Portland, Ore. (UP) -- Nineteen teen-agers fell into a 40-foot deep crevasse high on the snow covered slopes of 11,225-foot Mr. Hood.
One member of the mountain climbing party was killed and the others were injured, some critically.
Forest Service officials at the scene reported that the last of the injured had been brought down the mountainside to Timberline Lodge early today, about 12 hours after the group fell into the icy fissure.
The one dead was tentatively identified as 17-year-old LYNN KAUFMAN, Larchmount, N. Y. Most of the youths were from the New York area.
As the injured reached Timberline Lodge they were loaded into a fleet of ambulances that stood by throughout the night to rush them to Portland.
Officials at the scene said that at least 16 of the injured were stretcher cases. Some were injured critically, doctors said, and only one or two escaped with less than broken bones.
Medical personnel worked over the critically hurt as they were hauled above the lip of the crevasse, high on the mountainside. Literally tons of supplies were rushed up the mountain to the scene.
Planes dropped blood plasma and medical supplies at the scene Sunday night in response to frantic pleas from rescuers. Four doctors gave the survivors emergency treatment.
The accident was the worst in the history of the mountain, Oregon's tallest. One person was killed and nine seriously injured on the north slope of the mountain in an accident in 1927.
First word of the accident came from a 15-year-old youth who watched the tragedy unfold late Sunday afternoon.
DEMS GLASGOW, Salem, Ore., and two companions were climbing nearby when they saw the party of 19, tied together about three feet apart, start their descent of the treacherous glacier.
GLASGOW said the party started to slide into a snow field, the rear of the human chain whip lashing to the front. They tried to grab the snow as they plunged for more than 2,000 feet over the glacier. Two members of the chain dropped over the side of the 40-foot crevasse, pulling their companions with them.
"We could hear them screaming and yelling ... When we got there and looked over the lip, we could see them all spread over the bottom of the crater," the boy said.
Another witness said, "Two of the party slipped and carried the entire group into the fissure, rolling in the snow and into a pile of bloody flesh."
GLASGOW returned to the lodge to sound the alarm while his two companions stayed to comfort the injured.
TOM PFAU of Brooks, Ore., leader of another party of six climbers, said he tried to cut the youngsters free with his jackknife.
"One girl died as I cut her free," he said.
A youth pleaded with PFAU not to move him.
"Please don't move me," the youth cried. "My back's broken."
The report of the tragedy touched off a tremendous rescue operation. Sno-cats and other vehicles worked to help bring the injured down the mountainside Sunday night and early today.
Searchlights and flashlights lit up the mountainside. From below the men toiling on the slopes could barely be seen. Officials at Timberline Lodge reported only 12 of the 19 climbers registered there before setting out to scale the mountain. Most were members of an American Youth Hostel group.
They were identified as:
RONALD G. HEINRICH, Clearlake, Iowa.
LOUISE KUFLEK, Forest Hills, N. Y.
SUE BLUM, Baldwin, N. Y.
JUDY HART, Queens Village, N. Y.
LYNN KAUFMAN, Lacchmont, N. Y.
BUNNY ROCKLAND, Rockway Parkway, East N. Y.
JOHN SCHOSS, Cedarhurst, N. Y.
LAWRENCE, McCORMICK, Plainville, Ohio.
SIDNEY H. ROSENBERG, Plainfield, N. J.

Oshkosh Daily Northwestern Wisconsin 1956-07-29