A 21-year-old college student died after he plummeted hundreds of feet down a rocky ravine while hiking in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains.
Nature-lover Joel Tranby was ascending the summit of North Sister Mountain with his girlfriend on Monday when he fell between 300 and 500 feet to the ground around 12:20 p.m., according to the Lane County Sheriff’s Office.
Tranby was severely injured and his girlfriend immediately called for help but was unable to see where exactly he landed, Sgt. Tom Speldrich said in a statement Wednesday. “Unfortunately, he stopped responding verbally before searchers arrived,” Speldrich said.
His girlfriend was transported by helicopter off of the mountain, according to family members.
The area where Tranby fell is “extremely dangerous” and inaccessible by foot, police said.
Search teams along with an Oregon National Guard Blackhawk crew and drones were unable to initially locate him.
The search resumed on Tuesday when a ground team of volunteers along with Corvallis Mountain Rescue and Eugene Mountain Rescue assisted.
After analyzing drone footage, authorities were finally able to locate Tranby’s body from a helicopter on Wednesday.
Authorities are consulting climbing experts to determine if his body can be safely recovered, police said.Tranby, of Bend, loved the outdoors and was a major part of his community, his “devastated” family told KTVZ.
He helped coach his former high school’s Nordic Ski Team and was planning to graduate college in December.“
Joel was doing something he loved, with the person he loved, in the outdoors and we know that brought him joy,” the parents’ statement said.
The family has launched a GoFundMe to create a scholarship in his memory and to cover any expenses needed to recover his body from the mountain.