BREAKING NEWS Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday at her home in Washington, the court says. She was 87. Full Story

Runner crawled for 8 hours in sub-freezing temperatures after injuring his leg on mountain trail

Runner Joseph Oldendorf crawled for nearly eight hours to find help after injuring his leg in Olympic National Park in Washington, authorities said.

Posted: Feb 24, 2020 10:21 AM


A runner crawled for nearly eight hours to find help after injuring his leg in a national park in Washington, authorities said.

"Carrying a charged cell phone and displaying incredible grit and determination to self-rescue likely prevented more serious injury in this case," Jefferson County Search and Rescue said in a statement posted on Facebook.

Around 5 p.m. Friday, the runner was injured on the Duckabush River Trail in the Olympic National Park, Washington, according to the release. He was about 10 miles from the trailhead and his cell phone did not have a signal so he couldn't call for help.

"I wasn't counting on my phone ever working I just figured this is my only chance I'm going to crawl all the way there," Joseph Oldendorf told CNN affiliate KIRO. Oldendorf said his tibia became detached, keeping him on his hands and knees. Crawling on the trail made his knees so raw, he said he put his shoes over them for a level of protection.

Temperatures were below freezing, and he was wearing only light running clothes as he crawled for several miles, the release said. At 12:45 a.m. on Saturday, he realized his phone had a signal because he received a text message.

He called 911 and kept crawling, the release said.

Oldendorf told the station that he tried lying down to wait, but he was too cold and believed that if he didn't keep moving he could die. Thoughts of his family kept him going, he said.

"I don't want my family to hear I died in the wilderness. I think it'd be unbearable," Oldendorf told the station.

A crew from the Brinnon Fire Department along with Jefferson Search and Rescue volunteers responded and started up the trail to find the injured runner. A Jefferson County Sheriff's deputy managed coordination and communication at the trailhead, the release said.

The runner was located by his voice five to six miles from the spot where he was injured, the release said. Fire department EMT's treated him for a leg injury and exposure to the cold.

The rescuers then moved the runner to a spot where be hoisted by a US Coast Guard helicopter and flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. The trail is on the east side of the Olympic Peninsula, about 50 miles west of Seattle.

The incident renewed his respect for nature, Oldendorf told KIRO, and he hopes to one day return to the trails.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 448052

Reported Deaths: 33085
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Queens714747239
Kings667377314
Bronx524684940
Nassau460522201
Suffolk459562011
Westchester377181454
New York329383178
Richmond156891085
Rockland14747675
Orange11760498
Erie10873689
Monroe5857289
Dutchess5050153
Onondaga4185205
Albany2979134
Oneida2369123
Ulster223595
Niagara1707101
Putnam156963
Sullivan156848
Broome145069
Schenectady137448
Saratoga98517
Rensselaer89542
Columbia58037
Chautauqua5359
Madison48417
Ontario45435
Oswego4183
Tompkins3900
Warren35433
Steuben34242
Fulton33124
Otsego3245
Orleans32254
Greene31918
Herkimer31810
St. Lawrence3144
Genesee3095
Wayne3065
Chemung3053
Washington28714
Cattaraugus2496
Chenango2487
Tioga22225
Montgomery2194
Livingston2018
Cayuga1952
Jefferson1600
Essex1570
Clinton1545
Cortland1500
Wyoming1315
Delaware1294
Seneca1053
Allegany951
Schoharie830
Franklin640
Yates627
Lewis500
Schuyler370
Hamilton140
Unassigned019
Utica
Clear
56° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 56°
Oneonta
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 54°
Herkimer
Clear
56° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 56°
Thendara
Clear
56° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 56°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Click here to learn more about A Healthier Mohawk Valley
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve
WKTV Golf Card - Under 150 left