Man Survives 240-Meter Fall Into Oregon Volcanic Caldera

Crater Lake was carved some 7,700 years ago by a violent volcanic eruption. Today, it is the deepest lake in the US. Pung/Shutterstock

A man who plummeted nearly 240 meters (800 feet) into a now-dormant volcanic crater earlier this week lives to see another day.

Emergency officials report that Crater Lake National Park Service requested a helicopter for the injured man at 3.47pm local time. He was located near an area of the park called Rims Village. An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew arrived shortly after at 4.28pm to find a rope rescue team had already dropped their lines 182 meters (600 feet) into the caldera. Responders could reportedly hear the man calling for help from below.

“The aircrew was hovering above the injured man within 15 minutes of arriving on scene and conducted the hoist before landing in a nearby parking lot and transferring the injured man to the AirLink helicopter crew. The aircrew departed Crater Lake at 5.27pm, stopped in Roseburg to refuel and returned to North Bend,” wrote the Coast Guard in a press release.

The aircrew was in the area to assist National Park Service personnel rescue a man who fell 800 feet down into the caldera of Crater Lake. US Coast Guard/Sector North Bend

The man was transferred to a medical transport team and flown to a nearby hospital in Bend, Oregon, located in the southern part of the state.

In an unrelated post online, Crater Lake National Park warned visitors to obey signs and regulations when visiting the park, particularly as the steep caldera walls reach heights of nearly 600 meters (2,000 feet) above the surface of the lake.

“They are there for a reason, usually for your safety or for the protection of precious park resources such as the lake, plants, historic structures, or wildlife,” the park service wrote in a Facebook post, linking to a list of laws.

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Crater Lake was formed by a violent eruption that triggered the collapse of a tall peak nearly 8,000 years ago, according to the National Park Service. Measuring a whopping 600 meters (2,000 feet) at its furthest depths, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the US and the ninth deepest in the world. No rivers flow in or out of the crater, but its water level is shaped by rainfall, groundwater flow, and evaporation.

IFLScience reached out to the hospital's public information officer to determine the current condition of the man but was not given his current condition. However, the Coast Guard and transport helicopter crew both confirmed he survived the fall. The Seattle Times even reported he was able to walk after the rescue. 

Bathymetric depth map of Crater Lake, showing what the lakebed looks like underneath all that water. Note the shallowness of the lake around Wizard Island and the depth on the northeast side. US National Park Service
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