Father of teen who died while hiking: 'He has a heart for God'

Father of teen who died while hiking: 'He has a heart for God' »Play Video
Andrew Lusink

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- The parents of a teen boy who died during a hike in the mountains outside of North Bend remembered their son as one with a big heart and a giver.

"(He was) somebody who loves people," said Rich Lusink. "He has a heart for God."

His 16-year-old son Andrew died Sunday along with Andrew's 18-year-old classmate Ben Skagen when they fell 100 feet while on a hike to Otter Falls in the Snoqualmie National Forest. Andrew's 18-year-old brother Jeffrey and another classmate were there and rushed to help, but the boys later died.

Rich Lusink said Andrew was into soccer and basketball. His last soccer game was Saturday and even scored a goal.

"He loves to compete, but in that competing he loves to lift up his teammates," Rich Lusink said.

Andrew and Jeffrey were also into hiking.

"Not just pleasure-seeking, they go and they explore," Rich Lusink said. "The two other boys that were with them had a similar heart for the outdoors ... and for seeing places and going places."

He said the brothers were inseparable.

"They loved to be together, the two of them ever since they were young," he said. "As a parent, it couldn’t touch your heart more to know your brothers and your sister love each other."

After the fall, it was Jeffrey who pulled Andrew from the water.

"One of the things that Andrew ended up saying was, ‘don’t move me. It hurts,' " Rich Lusink said. "Don’t know how much time they got to spend or if it was Jeffrey’s need to go get help... both of them being each other’s hero,"

With no cell service available from the remote area, Jeffrey left his brother's side and ran down the trail to get help. He eventually found three hikers who went to render aid, but then had to run another five miles before he found a forest worker. That forest worker then drove down the mountain to get within cell range and call 911. By the time rescue workers reached the boys, they had died.

Now, Lusink's family will rely on their religion to provide solace.

"He totally believed in people living free in their lives and it would lead them to Jesus," said Laurie Lusink, Andrew's mother. "That was his passion."

Rich added: "We have a confidence in knowing this life is not all there is and that he’s in a better place, and so with that we mourn, we cry, but we also have joy."