Mount Rainier National Park rescuers successfully recovered the body of a 30-year-old Washington man who, on July 3, had fallen into a hole above Pebble Creek while descending on skis from Camp Muir.

Dmitri Pajitnov and his ski partner were descending from Camp Muir to Paradise on July 3 when tragedy struck. Pajitnov fell through a snow bridge into the rushing water of Pebble Creek. He was an experienced ski patrolman, mountaineer and EMT.

Since the initial report, the park has conducted over 22 ground and air searches of the area. Late-season snow cover, combined with unstable conditions prevented locating Pajitnov until the snow over Pebble Creek melted out. In early August the body of Pajitnov was located at the bottom of a waterfall approximately 100 feet from the location where he had fallen into Pebble Creek. Since then, the park has been monitoring the site, including snow and water conditions, awaiting an opportunity to safely access the area.

On Saturday, Aug. 19, a team of eight search and rescue personnel safely reached the body for extraction by a long line helicopter operation.

Over 40 personnel assisted in the search and recovery, including Mountain Rescue Association and Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue’s Swift Water Team. The park’s exclusive use helicopter was used.

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