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Prineville hunter in coma after two days upside-down in tree

Hunter in drug-induced coma after two-day ordeal in Ukiah

East Oregonian

Published on August 31, 2018 9:20AM

A Prineville man is in intensive care after spending two days stuck upside down in a tree while hunting in Umatilla County.

Eddie Voelker, 70, was hunting in a favorite spot of his about 20 miles east of Ukiah off Highway 244. He fell out of a hunting stand in a tree and became entangled in his safety harness. He was suspended upside down, more than 30 feet off the ground, for two days.

According to a press release from the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office, around 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 28, Union County dispatch reported that another hunter had found Voelker. Crews removed him from the tree using a bucket truck from Oregon Trail Electric Co-op.

Voelker was life-flighted to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland and, according to staff there, is still in critical condition.

Jeanette Jacoby, a family friend of Voelker’s, told the East Oregonian via email that he is now in a drug-induced coma, and doctors did a procedure on him on Wednesday to relieve pressure on his brain. She said he was breathing on his own for a while, but on Thursday, doctors put him back on a ventilator.

Jacoby said after he was brought down from the tree someone had to perform CPR on him. She said Voelker was alone, but had his dogs on the trip, and they were at the campsite. His family retrieved the dogs and some of his hunting equipment from the site the day after he was found.

Jacoby said Voelker’s family wants to thank the rescuers and everyone who helped him.

Multiple agencies, including the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office, Pendleton Fire and Ambulance, the U.S. Forest Service, and Life Flight, responded to the scene.


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