Tragic Hiking Accident Near North Bend; Two Federal Way Teens Die After Fall

Otter Falls, part of Taylor River Hike
~ photo by WA Trails Assc.

Snoqualmie Valley residents may hear low-flying helicopters this morning as there was another tragic hiking accident in the area yesterday.

The King County Sheriff’s Office is reporting this morning that two teenage hikers died yesterday near the Taylor River hiking area, about 9 miles past Middle Fork near North Bend.

According to Komo News, “The boys were identified as Andrew Lusink, 16, and Ben Skagen, 18. Both attended Christian Faith School, a close-knit school of only 85 high school students. Skagen graduated last year”

The incident happened sometime Sunday near remote Otter Falls, a destination of the popular Snoqualmie Valley Taylor River Hiking Trail.  The group of four teenage boys was hiking the area when two of the four climbed a rock near the falls. The two boys fell from the slippery rock into the water and were seriously injured.

The two other teens tried to help the injured boys.  One ran down the trail for help, where he found two other hikers on the trail that went up to assist the injured boys.  The teen, and brother of the 16-year-old victim, then continued five miles down the trail until he was able to find a Forest Service employee that called 911.

The King County Sheriff’s Office received the call around 7:30PM last night and sent Search and Rescue Unit members to the area. Snohomish County also responded with a helicopter.

The two men who went back to help the injured teens stayed with them and their uninjured friend, starting a fire to keep them warm and even performing CPR while waiting for rescue personnel. Sadly, when the search and rescue teams arrived, the 16 and 18-year-old boys had died as a result of their injuries.

Cindi West of the King County Sheriff’s Office says, “This is a very tragic situation. There is no cell service in the area so it is likely that the forest service employee had to drive down the mountain to call 911.”

Ben Skagen, left and Andrew Lusink right. Photo by Komo News

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