Stranded watchman rescued by US Coast Guard helicopter after 5 days

73 year-old Lloyd Cline was stranded in the Elk Creek area off Upper Smith River Road due to the snow storm.

Posted: Feb 28, 2019 6:59 PM
Updated: Feb 28, 2019 7:05 PM

DRAIN, Ore. -- The U.S. Coast Guard rescued a man on Wednesday who had been stranded in the snow for several days, and now the man is speaking out about the challenges he faced.

Lloyd Cline, 73, was a watchman working as security for Double S Logging when he became stranded in the Elk Creek area off Upper Smith River Road due to the snow.

Rescue efforts were attempted Monday and Tuesday, but hazards and severe weather hampered rescuers from reaching Cline. Air assets could not be utilized due to limited visibility and heavy snow falling. 

Cline told KEZI 9 News he ran out of food and had to eat snow. He said he was able to make calls but not recieve them because there was no service. 

"That third day was the worst day. I told them I couldnt stay any longer. It was really getting to me, and it was like there was so much snow it was like you had claustrophobia and the pressure was getting so great," Cline said. 

Cline said that the highest temperature it got to was 28 degrees. 

Douglas County Search and Rescue notified the Oregon State Search and Rescue coordinator of the rescue mission.

On Wednesday, SAR ground search personnel were again attempting to make their way to Cline’s location. A brief break in the weather provided a window for a helicopter rescue attempt.

The Oregon State SAR coordinator along with the Oregon Office of Emergency Management coordinated a helicopter rescue with the U.S. Coast Guard station in North Bend. The flight crew flew to Cline's location and was able to successfully rescue him.

Cline was flown to RiverBend Hospital in Springfield for treatment.

"I wouldn't wish that on anybody," Cline said. 

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