OTE - Oregon Travel Experience

Whirlybirds at a rest area?

Posted on: February 5th, 2016 by Madeline MacGregor in News & Press | No Comments

Unusual bird stops at Deadman Pass

deadman_copterOur Deadman Pass rest area played host to an unusual visitor this last weekend. OTE Specialist Marc Van Gorden told us that while he was on duty, he heard the sound of a helicopter nearby.

As the distinctive sound of the chopper’s blades grew louder and louder, Van Gorden realized the craft was going to attempt a landing on what appeared to be a circular patch of snow at the Deadman Pass Rest Area. However, the wide open clearing was actually a pond concealed beneath ice and snow and most likely not a surface that would support the helicopter’s weight.

Van Gorden raced outside and began waving the Life Flight chopper away from the pond and onto solid ground. The craft landed safely, and Van Gorden met the crew and found out why they had landed in the middle of a rest area in the mountains.

deadman_copter2Due to heavy snowfall in the LaGrande area, an ambulance had become mired in the snow with a patient on board. The ambulance was scheduled to meet the Life Flight chopper at the rest area, where they would transfer the patient to Oregon Health Sciences University hospital in Portland.

Once the Life Flight crew realized that it was snowing too heavily at Deadman Pass, they arranged to pick the patient up at the Cabbage Hill Scenic Outlook on I-84.

Oregon rest areas are vital to the health and safety of our residents and travelers, and in this case (as with many others), capable of hosting the most unusual guests and vehicles. We’re truly glad that Life Flight was able to complete their mission and grateful for their services to the sick and injured.

*Images courtesy of OTE’s Marc Van Gorden. Click on any photo to view the enlargement.

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