WENATCHEE, Wash. - The Chelan County Sheriff says a 40-year-old man slipped and fell to his death while hiking with his 9-year-old son over the weekend. Brian Burnett says tells KPQ that searchers found the body of William Berry on Sunday morning. The Lakewood, Wash., man was hiking with his son on Saturday in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness when he lost his footing and fell 300 feet into rocks. Burnett says the boy hiked out alone to seek help. Another group of people heard the boy's cries for help and notified deputies.
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
Sheriff Brian Burnett reports that on Saturday (08/25/2012) at 9:18pm, RIVERCOM dispatch received a report of a child yelling for help in the Alpine Wilderness above Coulter Creek.
The reporting party resides in an area commonly known as "High Camp". It was further reported that a father and son were overdue from a day hike into the Lake Donald area. They had begun their hike from High Camp.
A deputy responded and determined that unrelated persons camping in the area had eventually made contact with a 9-year-old boy who said his father had fallen while they were hiking near Lock Eileen earlier in the evening.
The boy said his father had serious injuries, was unable to walk and had instructed him to return toward Lake Donald for help. Deputies, Cascade Medics, SAR Volunteers and some citizens camping in the area began searching the Loch Eileen basin for the 40 year old injured subject.
Two of the victim's brothers who had been at High Camp were informed of the situation took part in the search. Due to hours of darkness the search for the subject became extensive.
Searchers re-interviewed the child several times to determine the most probable location of the subject. That area was eventually defined as a large boulder field on the southwest side of the lake.
At 3:10am, searchers located the body in the boulder field below a span of trees about 100 yards above the lake. William E. Berry (40yoa) of Lakewood, WA was found to be deceased at the scene.
Berry and his son had hiked from High Camp to fish at Lake Donald during the day. Berry chose to take a different route back to High Camp via Loch Eileen.
As Berry and his son were traversing down the steep boulder field on the southwest side of the lake, Berry lost his footing and tumbled 200-300 feet.
The exact cause of death is under investigation by the Chelan County Coroner's Office.