Saturday, July 7, 2012


Joseph Fire and Rescue firefighters rescued two motorcycle riders Saturday, July 7, after they went over an embankment when they miscalculated a tight curve known as Red Rock on Forest Road 39 through the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway.

Both riders, in their 50s and from Caldwell, Idaho, fell 100 to 150 feet. Their Honda Trike continued another 150-200 feet and was destroyed, Fire Chief Tom Clevenger reported.

Firefighters and Wallowa County sheriff's search-and-rescue personnel retrieved the victims with a Stokes basket system involving ropes and pulleys.

The pair was part of a group of about 30 cyclists riding the winding, scenic road, also known as the Wallowa Mountain Loop Road.

Among those responding was Assistant Chief Matt Walker, who lives at Wallowa Lake. During the incident, Joseph Firefighters and lake residents Doug Buska and Dirk Wiggins were on standby to roll Joseph Engine 5 from the lake fire station in case of another emergency in or near Joseph.

Also responding were Wallowa County sheriff's deputies, Wallowa Memorial Hospital ambulance crews and LifeFlight air ambulance pilots and medical personnel. Both victims were airlifted to St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, Idaho, where they were reported in serious to fair condition. Firefighters were dispatched at 12:07 p.m. and cleared the scene at 4:30.

Clevenger said this was the second recent motorcycle accident on the same curve. Joseph firefighters had rescued two cyclists three years ago when they fell 75 feet down the embankment.

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