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Kingston teen saves friend in tree fall
KINGSTON — A celebration of the beginning of summer vacation was cut short for a group of friends with the sound of a tree branch breaking. Hayden Sather and the group he was with had been playing a casual game of football at Village Green Park when they heard a branch above them breaking. And then their friend fell.
"I heard a crack, looked up, and saw him falling," Hayden said.
Hayden, a 15-year-old freshman at Kingston High School, saw his friend fall about 10 feet in the alder before landing on another branch. His friend was about 40-feet in the tree, according to information from North Kitsap Fire & Rescue. His friend then began to moan, Hayden said.
Hayden climbed the tree so he could try and keep his friend from falling more.
"He was in shock," Hayden said. "He was mumbling and trying to climb down, but wasn't able to."
Hayden's friend wasn't responding well when he spoke.
A few branches underneath his friend, Hayden did his best to keep him awake. Hayden started to see his friend closing his eyes. At that point, Hayden realized he would have to catch him.
His friend fell again, but, with one arm clinging to a branch, Hayden was able to pin him against the tree and stop the fall. Hayden had a lot of adrenaline at that point, he said.
Hayden propped his friend up and waited for emergency responders from North Kitsap Fire & Rescue.
Hayden's friend was taken to Harrison Medical Center after being removed from the tree. The fire department received the 9-1-1 call at 3:15 p.m.
Two members of the region’s technical rescue team were on-shift at the fire department to direct the rescue. Because the teen didn’t appear to have lost consciousness or require urgent treatment, crews conducted the rescue slowly. Falls of more than 10 feet are considered life-threatening; a fall from three times that height would likely cause critical injuries, according to information from the fire department.
Crews placed a ladder against the tree and set-up a system of ropes, pulleys and harnesses. One of the tech rescue specialists assisted the Hayden to ground first. Next, the other the tech rescue specialist helped the injured teen into a harness and helmet for the descent. After about 30 minutes, Hayden's friend was loaded into an ambulance for transport to Harrison in Bremerton for a full assessment of his injuries.
Hayden and his group of friends enjoy the outdoors. Before the incident at Village Green Park, the group went paddleboarding. They may take some risks every now and again.
The incident, however, is "Definitely going to make us be more careful," Hayden said. "But it won't completely stop us."