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Two people rescued after fall from hammock above cliff at Larrabee State Park

Five facts about Larrabee State Park

Five facts about Larrabee State Park. A new monument honoring Larrabee as Washington's first state park will be unveiled at the park amphitheater on Friday, April 28.
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Five facts about Larrabee State Park. A new monument honoring Larrabee as Washington's first state park will be unveiled at the park amphitheater on Friday, April 28.

Two people were hurt when they fell approximately 30 feet from a cliff shortly before 8 p.m. Wednesday at Larrabee State Park on the coast south of Bellingham, prompting a rescue operation involving dozens of firefighters and emergency service agencies.

Crews treated the victims on the rocky shoreline, where they were picked up by a boat that took them to an ambulance for transportation to St. Joseph’s hospital, said Chief Omar Mejia of Whatcom County Fire District 18.

Neither victim was named because of medical privacy laws, and their conditions weren’t known. Mejia said one patient was critically injured and one person was less seriously hurt.

Details of the incident were unclear, but it appears that the pair fell from a hammock about 30 feet down a cliff near the park’s main entrance on Chuckanut Drive south of Wildcat Cove.

“(Firefighters) quickly organized a hasty team and went to find the patients,” Mejia said in an interview.

Mejia said South Whatcom crews met with firefighters and paramedics from Skagit County, who also had been dispatched when one of the victims called 911.

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The emergency services app Pulse Point shows the location where two people fell from a cliff Wednesday, May 8, 2019. Pulse Point Courtesy to The Belllingham Herald

“We debated a rope-rescue operation, but it was easier going by water,” Mejia said. “(Firefighters) were able to walk down. Once they located them, we sent two teams down the trail for patient care.”

He said U.S. Coast Guard and Navy helicopters were en route, but a high tide allowed the Bellingham Fire Department’s boat to get close to shore.

“They were able to get the boat right up there,” Mejia said. “It went very well.”

South Whatcom Fire Chief Dave Ralston said the victims were a man and a woman in their 20s who had been watching the sunset from a hammock near the cliff’s edge.

“They apparently had been in a hammock and it either broke or they fell out,” Ralston said in an interview. “They landed in the rocks at the water level. (The fireboat) was able to come right up to them.”

High tide was 8 feet 7 inches at 9:56 p.m. on Chuckanut Bay.

Ralston said South Whatcom crews have assisted in several rescues at the same location, which boasts a stunning view of the Salish Sea and San Juan Islands from atop the sandstone cliffs.

Robert Mittendorf covers civic issues, weather, traffic and how people are coping with the high cost of housing for The Bellingham Herald. A journalist since 1984, he’s also a volunteer firefighter for South Whatcom Fire Authority.
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