A Burlington man was in serious condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after the second serious hiking accident this summer at Pilchuck Falls in south Skagit County.
Brian Gurney, 19, was hiking with friends on Friday afternoon when they attempted to walk down to the falls area. Gurney lost his footing and fell approximately 100 feet, Skagit County Sheriff’s Chief Criminal Deputy Don McDermott said.
A search and rescue team was immediately called to the scene. Gurney was rescued using a rigging system to bring him straight back up the hill and to Lake Cavanaugh and Highway 9, where he was airlifted to Harborview, McDermott said.
Gurney, who was preparing to go back to Washington State University for his sophomore year of school, suffered serious head injuries and required surgery, said his uncle, David Bricka.
"We're just waiting and praying and hoping," Bricka said.
It’s the second serious incident at Pilchuck Falls in six weeks. On June 28, Skagit County Search and Rescue volunteer J.B. Bryson, 62, of Sedro-Woolley, died during a rescue attempt for a man who had attempted to reach his friend, Peder Trettevik, 25, from Stanwood, after Trettevik had fallen about 100 to 150 feet. Bryson fell from the cliff rim while clearing brush so other rescuers could reach the man and recover Trettevik’s body.