Feb 2, 2015

Injured ice climber says 'Thanks!' to local rescuers

A Washington state ice climber who was rescued by local emergency responders last month after an injury on the South Fork is passing along his thanks.

Eiji Sugi had to be evacuated after he was hit by a falling rock while climbing on an ice flow at the end of the South Fork. He's still recovering from his injuries, but he made sure to thank his "selfless" rescuers.

Here's Sugi's thank you note, which was posted on the Park County Sheriff's Facebook page:

Thank You County Rescue Personnel

Recently, I was the victim of an ice climbing accident on the “Mean Green” ice flow at the end of the South Fork Road, 40 miles southwest of Cody. We had finished the route and descended to the base by early afternoon. While we were packing up our gear for our hike back to our car, I was struck in the lower back by a large rock that had become dislodged and fallen 80-100 feet. The pain was such that I could not move and had difficulty breathing. I had to be evacuated by deputies from the Park County Sheriff’s Office as well as members of the Search and Rescue Unit and Wilderness Medical Team.

I don't know the names or the faces that assisted in coming to help me in my time of need. All I know is these selfless men and women jumped into action when my partner called in at about 3 p.m. on Jan. 25 requesting immediate help.

From the two officers who reached me first and gave up their jackets to keep me warm, to the numerous search and rescue folks that showed up with all the equipment, to the dispatchers that coordinated the rescue, and to all those involved in lowering me down the snow slopes....THANK YOU!!

I don't know the names of my rescuers....all I know is they had one goal in mind, which was to get me down safely. I am truly grateful for their efforts. Even more, I am grateful that none of them were injured trying to rescue me.

I wish I can thank each of them personally but I know that's impossible. So I hope that this "Thank You" reaches all those that were involved. I am back home with my family resting....can't quite say comfortably yet as I am still in pain from the six broken ribs. But with time, I will heal.

Again, thank you for all the help. I will never forget you.

Best Regards,
Eiji Sugi
Auburn, Wash.

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