Central Point man rescued from Red Blanket Canyon after fall
PROSPECT — Close to 20 Jackson County Search & Rescue volunteers helped rescue a Central Point man over the weekend after he took a fall in a canyon outside Prospect.
Ken Wearstler, 64, was airlifted from Red Blanket Canyon near Prospect during the dawn hours of Sunday, the Jackson County Sheriff's Department reported.
Police said Wearstler fell while hiking in the area by himself Saturday evening. He injured his knee in the fall, but was able to crawl up the canyon a short distance before the sun went down. Sgt. Shawn Richards of the Jackson County Sheriff's Department said the terrain is steep, jagged and covered in brush.
"Basically, darkness fell upon him," Richards said. "He wasn't making enough headway."
Wearstler called his wife, who then called 911 at about 7:30 p.m. Search and rescue, paramedics and deputies from the Jackson County Sheriff's Department responded to the area.
"We had a general location of where he was from the description he gave over the phone," Richards said, adding attempts to ping Wearstler's cellphone were unsuccessful.
Search and rescue volunteers walked into the canyon, combing the area with flashlight beams and headlamps and calling out Wearstler's name. Navigating the terrain was a challenge, Richards said, especially at night.
"In the pitch dark, even with head lamps it was difficult," he said.
Search and rescue crews found Wearstler just after midnight Sunday. It took them another four hours to reach his spot because of the rugged, steep terrain. Once there, a medic stabilized and splinted his injured leg. Crews also gave him food and warm fluids and covered him with blankets.
"He was in good condition other than the knee," Richards said.
Search and rescue put Wearstler on a backboard and moved him a short distance to a nearby meadow. From there, he was airlifted to the top of the canyon, and was then driven to an area hospital.
Attempts to reach Wearstler by phone were not immediately successful.
— Ryan Pfeil