2 teen hikers who died Sunday ID'd by Federal Way school
A current and a former student from a Federal Way Christian school have been identified as the victims of a hiking accident Sunday near North Bend.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Two teens killed Sunday in a hiking accident near North Bend were a current and a former student from a Federal Way Christian school.
Stephanie Pond, business manager and athletic director at Christian Faith School, identified the pair as Andrew Lusink, a 16-year-old junior, and Ben Skagen, 18, who graduated from the school earlier this year.
The teens were good friends who'd played on the school's soccer team and often hiked together, Pond said.
"They made an impact on my life and everyone's life around here, and I'll never forget them and neither will the kids here," principal Tom Puddy told KING 5. "They made an impact wherever they went."
According to the King County Sheriff's Office, Lusink and Skagen fell about 100 feet while hiking Sunday with two other teens on the Taylor River Trail near Otter Falls in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Lusink and Skagen were climbing a rock near the falls when they fell and were seriously injured, the Sheriff's Office said.
Lusink's 18-year-old brother, Jeffrey, ran down to help.
"Jeffrey ended up going into the water and pulling Andrew out," the teens' father, Rich Lusink, told KOMO-TV. "Both of them being each other's hero."
The fourth member of the hiking group, Matt McIlnay, 18, rushed to help Skagen.
"It doesn't even seem real yet," Matt's mother, Pam McIlnay, told The Seattle Times on Monday night. "This is a tragedy of major proportions which there are no answers to."
On the trail, Jeffrey Lusink found two other hikers, who went to help. Those hikers performed CPR on the injured teens when they stopped breathing and built a fire to keep them warm, the Sheriff's Office said.
Jeffrey Lusink continued down the trail and found a U.S. Forest Service employee who called 911, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Members of the Sheriff's Office search-and-rescue unit and a helicopter from the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office responded, but by the time they reached the boys, both had died.
"This is a very tragic situation," said sheriff's spokeswoman Sgt. Cindi West. "There is no cell service in the area, so it is likely that the Forest Service employee had to drive down the mountain to call 911."
West estimated that it was at least one hour after the boys had fallen before the call for aid was made. The call was at around 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
The boys' bodies were brought down from the trail on Monday morning, West said.
Christian Faith School held a prayer service for the boys Monday morning, and a more formal memorial was being planned, Pond said.
"Please pray for the Lusink and Skagen families," read a post on the school's Facebook page.
Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Seattle Times news researcher Gene Balk contributed to this report, which includes information from The Associated Press.