Hiker pinned under refrigerator-sized boulder in Leavenworth rescued

Leavenworth Boulder Rescue
(Chelan County Mountain Rescue, FB)

LEAVENWORTH, Wash. (AP) — A Montana resident hiking in Washington state was rescued this week after he became trapped under a refrigerator-sized boulder, officials said.

Ben Delahunty, 28, was hiking this week in the Cascade Mountains, south of Leavenworth, when a boulder he was relaxing on started to slide down a cliff, Chelan County Sheriff Brian Burnett said in a news release.

The boulder was stopped by a tree, pinning Delahunty’s wrist and legs. His friend called for help after they were unable to move the rock.

Getting rescuers and equipment capable of moving the boulder to the area was challenging because he was a several-hour hike from the trailhead, the sheriff said.

Two helicopters were used to shuttle rescuers and equipment that could move the boulder to the area. Rescuers needed ropes to access Delahunty safely and protect from fall risks, further complicating the rescue, Burnett said. Hours later rescuers were able to free him.

After one unsuccessful attempt to hoist him because of high winds, additional rescue volunteers responded on the ground in case they had to bring him out on foot. A later break in the weather allowed him to be hoisted out of the area and taken to a hospital.

Delahunty has significant injuries to his leg but is expected to recover, the sheriff said.