Cell Tower Workers Rescued In Southeast Oregon
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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Four cellphone tower workers stranded since Saturday in foul weather at the summit of Steens Mountain in southeastern Oregon have been rescued.
They were brought down Tuesday in good health, although tired and hungry, said Matt Fine, Harney County’s search and rescue coordinator.
They were identified as three Oregonians and an Alaskan.
After their snow vehicle got stuck during poor visibility on Saturday, the four spent a night in the machine and the next day took refuge near the 9,700-foot summit in a concrete block building beneath a communications tower.
Sheriff Dave Glerup said they had a generator, heat, electricity, operating cellphones and some food and water. They were not thought to be in imminent jeopardy.
Attempts on Sunday and Monday to get to them were thwarted by white-out conditions.
On Tuesday morning, Fine said, the weather broke, so rescuers in seven snowmobiles and a tracked vehicle went up the mountain to get them. It took about 45 minutes to get to the top, and the weather started turning bad soon afterward.
“It’s socked in again, and it’s beginning to snow,” Fine said as the machines were on the way down.
The sheriff’s office says winter storms, with several feet of snow, are not uncommon on Steens Mountain.
The mountain, raised by the action of a geologic fault, has a dramatic eastern face that rises a mile above the surrounding high desert. The sheriff’s department says it has highest navigable road in the state.
The four had been installing on a tower for a Clackamas company. They were identified as
— Jeff Brown, 48, Juneau, Alaska.
— Brandon Seaver, 36, Tigard.
— Jeffery Syversen, 49, Tillamook.
— Ray Syversen, 48, Tillamook.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.