COLUMBIA COUNTY, Wash. , Feb. 18, 2020 —
Surplus military vehicles from DLA Disposition Services helped in the rescue of a woman, two children and two dogs when they became stranded in a wilderness area in Washington recently.
The Tucannon River stranded them when it overran its banks and flooded the roadway in several places, causing mud and rockslides across the only access road. The party was forced to spend a night in the woman’s car, according to Kari Dingman, assistant manager of the W.T. Wooten Wildlife Area.
The next day, the woman found the Tucannon Guard Station, Dingman said. The station had a phone she used to call for help. With a supply of food and water already in place at the station, the group was able to stay warm while waiting for help.
Knowing the group was safe, the Columbia County Sheriff's Office made the decision to attempt an aerial rescue the following day by helicopter. But Mother Nature had other plans.
A low ceiling and heavy snow prevented usage of the helicopter. The sheriff resolved to try to drive in as far as a team could go and then hike the rest of the way.
The sheriff’s office knew the Humvee it had acquired through the DLA Disposition Services Law Enforcement Support Office could navigate floodwaters and mud slides, but it didn’t have a large enough passenger capacity get a full rescue party in and then bring everyone back out.
Members of the Washington State Department of Fish and Game joined the rescue effort with one of their five-ton trucks, which had also been transferred to them by DLA Disposition Services. The combined rescue team used the two vehicles to drive through the river, across washed-out roads and over mud and rockslides. When the team reached the guard station, the individuals were assessed by medical personnel and then transported out.
The Columbia County Sheriff's Office said it would like to express thanks and gratitude to all of the agencies and volunteers involved in helping them to achieve a successful outcome.