10/21/2014

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Hiker found alive: 'We are just praising God and are so happy'

Hiker found alive: 'We are just praising God and are so happy'

MOUNT HOOD, Ore. – A 23-year-old woman who was missing for days on Mount Hood was found alive Saturday, nearly a week after she was last seen.

A National Guard helicopter spotted Mary Owen just below Sandy Glacier, at an elevation of about 4,600 feet, at around 10 a.m. They pulled her to safety and flew her off the mountain.

Bruce Owen, Mary's father, said the family had just arrived Saturday morning when they learned she was found.

"We just barely got up here and the sergeant told us they had a helicopter hovering over somebody and were bringing her up," said Owen. "And the clothing matched, but at that point they weren't sure it was her. About 30 seconds later they said 'yes', it is her and she's alive and responsive, and they're taking her directly to the hospital."

Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Marcus Mendoza said Owen had frostbite and a possibly broken ankle. She was taken to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland.

Searchers found her tracks around the Reid Glacier, which is "a couple of glaciers over," Mendoza said.

"I don't know if I could speak on the odds to that but I would say we're all lucky," said Mendoza. "In the condition she was in with frostbite already being set in, not being very mobile, I'm glad they did find her today."

"We are just so ecstatic and so happy," said Bruce Owen. "We really just want to thank all of the people who have been out here looking for her and gave their time and efforts and did such an outstanding job to find her."

Mary Owen was last heard from on Sunday and was reported missing Thursday evening. Friends said they last heard from her when she sent an email, saying she was hiking on Mount Hood.

Search crews spent all day Friday searching for her, but had few details on where the McMinnville woman may have been hiking.

"This morning when we got here the whole mountain was our search area," said Nate Meehan with Corvallis Mountain Rescue. "He had teams going in pretty much every direction."

Bruce Owen says his daughter is an experienced hiker.

"She's hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mexican border to the Canadian border and the Sierras," he said. "I haven't got a chance to talk to her yet so I don't know exactly what she was trying to do out here."

Owen is a student at George Fox University.

Her Toyota 4Runner was found in the parking lot of Timberline Lodge. Sheriff’s deputies checked the vehicle and believe it had been sitting there for some time, according to a news release from the sheriff's office.

"Being out in this type of terrain, even in this type of weather is not something that's new to her and that was one of the things that was comforting to us even in the fact that she had been gone for so long," said Bruce Owen. "I knew that she knew how to take care of herself.

"We are just praising God and are so happy," he said. "On our way up here we were just praying that this was exactly what would happen - that we would come up and they would say 'we just found her.'"

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'Fire hose' of rain, strong winds will hit hard Wednesday morning 'Fire hose' of rain, strong winds will hit hard Wednesday morning