Oroville hiker rescued off Mt. Hull by Navy rescue helicopter

Ashlyn Godwin is lifted by a U.S. Navy Rescue helicopter after falling nearly 30 feet while hiking on Mt. Hull south of Oroville. Gary DeVon/staff photo

Ashlyn Godwin is lifted in a rescue basket by a U.S. Navy Rescue helicopter after falling nearly 30 feet while hiking on Mt. Hull south of Oroville. An air crewman straddles the basket as the two are hoisted aboard the helicopter. Gary DeVon/staff photo. Gary DeVon/staff photo

Godwin undergoes back surgery that night, next morning

OROVILLE – An Oroville woman who fell about 30 feet while hiking south of town was lifted from a small plateau by a U.S. Navy Rescue helicopter and flown to Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee for treatment of her injuries.

Ashlyn Godwin, 20, was hiking with her sister, brother-in-law and five-year-old nephew seven miles south of town near the waterfall and Buffalo Rock on Mt. Hull. After hiking up the steep trail the four were coming back down when Godwin and her nephew took a different path than the other two hikers. According to family members Godwin twisted her ankle and fell backwards off a cliff, landing in the rocks below.

The Oroville ambulance was the first on the scene around 3:30 p.m., followed by Oroville Police Officer Frank Kouteliers and members of the Oroville Rural Fire Department. Roley, McGavin and a few fire personnel hiked up the hillside to where Godwin and her fellow hikers were on a small plateau waiting for help.

Ambulance and fire department crew members made the decision not to try and carry Godwin out because of her injuries and the rough terrain. Emergency personnel on the scene reported that the young woman was slipping in and out of consciousness and was in a great deal of pain. They stayed with her while waiting for the rescue helicopter. During the wait additional rescue personnel arrived with more equipment.

Emergency personnel were with her for five hours keeping her stable until the helicopter could get there. During that time the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Department sent in a special search and rescue rope team out of the Methow.

It took those on the scene another hour to get Godwin secured into their special equipment. The Methow team was going to to lower her in a basket with ropes but it was just too dangerous. It was determined the Navy helicopter was the only entity that could do a cliff side hoist.

Family members were gathered at the top of Ward Road anxiously watching as emergency personnel continued to prepare the woman and the area for the helicopter’s arrival.

When the aircraft arrived and made a few passes over the area, then two search and rescue crew members were lowered on ropes and prepared Godwin to be lifted out by placing her in a rescue basket. The Navy helicopter, hovering close to the rock face, lowered a cable and Godwin was lifted with one of the crew members riding on top of the rescue basket. By the time the pilot had flown in a half circle Godwin and the crew member were on board. The helicopter returned and lifted the second crewman aboard minutes later and headed to the hospital in Wenatchee.

Update: Several of Godwin’s family members drove to Wenatchee to be by her side. Toni Godwin Johannessen, the young woman’s aunt, said her niece was undergoing back surgery that night and several hours into Sunday morning. More updates as they become available.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He has a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.