Hiker Rescued After Falling Headfirst into Outdoor Toilet

Losing your phone stinks—just ask the woman who had to be rescued from a public toilet while trying to retrieve hers. Local fire departments responded to a call last week to assist a woman who fell into a vault toilet on Mount Walker in Washington state’s Olympic National Forest. 

The mid-40-year-old hiker told rescuers she had dropped her cell phone into the vault and was attempting to retrieve it when she fell in. Officials say she had attempted to dismantle the toilet and use her dog’s leash to fish it out. After multiple tries, she then used the leash as support to reach down into the toilet, which led to her slipping headfirst. 

Vault toilets are non-flushing, waterless toilets that are meant to store human waste in a large airtight underground container, making it extremely difficult for the hiker to climb out herself. Officials say that after attempting to escape for 20 minutes, she used her phone to call for help. 

According to responders, the rescue team was able to create a “makeshift cribbing platform” that they were able to pass down to the woman. Once the platform was tall enough for her to stand on, the crew was able to reach her and pull her to safety. 

“The patient was extremely fortunate not to be overcome by toxic gasses or sustain injury,” the Brinnon Fire Department stated. “[She] was strongly encouraged to seek medical attention after being exposed to human waste, but she only wanted to leave.” 

The hiker was washed down and given a Tyvek suit to wear before she continued her journey back to California with a new story and many thanks to her rescuers. 

Cover photo via Brinnon Fire Department

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