Washougal woman hospitalized after falling over waterfall

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A Washougal woman rescued, then hospitalized after falling over Spirit Falls on the Little White Salmon River near Cook, Washington, on Saturday, March 23.

At about 5:41 p.m. the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office received a report that indicated that the fallen hiker – Rachel Goodwin, 23 — had “fallen and gone over Spirit Falls” and “self-extricated to a bank and was behind the waterfall, unable to safely get out due to the hydraulics of the falls and steep cliff face,” according to a news release issued by the Skamania County Sheriff’s Offfice (SCSO).

She was assisted by members of the Skamania County Emergency Medical Service and the Skamania County Search & Rescue Team.

“(She) was located behind the falls and appeared uninjured, although after being in the frigid waters was very susceptible to hypothermia,” the news release stated.

After Clark County Technical Rescue Team members were dispatched, Goodwin was raised to the top of the falls, then transported to Peace Health Salmon Creek in Vancouver for treatment of mild hypothermia, according to the news release.

The news release said that the incident “and several others within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and Columbia Gorge National Scenic area lead us to believe the requests for social distancing was only in effect for the Portland Metropolitan area.”

“The unusually warm weather normally brings large crowds to enjoy the scenic beauty offered in the Columbia River Gorge,” the news release states. “However, we urge visitors to use caution and common sense. Skamania County government and its residents are taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, making the necessary changes to our everyday lives so we can remain health and happy. We strongly suggest visitors to our community do as well.”