Climber dies in fall on Mount Hood

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PORTLAND — A Polish military officer visiting the United States for training with a drone manufacturer fell about 1,000 feet to his death while recreationally climbing Oregon’s Mount Hood, authorities said.

The body of 32-year-old Sebastian Kinasiewicz was spotted from the air Tuesday by a National Guard helicopter, ending a search that started a day earlier.

Sgt. Pete Hughes of the Hood River County sheriff’s office said it was too dangerous to immediately recover the body because boulders were falling nearby. He could not provide an estimate for when it would be safe.

“He probably fell a little over a thousand feet down from the summit,” Hughes said.

Kinasiewicz was in the Pacific Northwest for training at the Insitu company in Bingen, Wash. The company offered condolences in a statement, saying: “We are extremely sorry to learn of the passing of our colleague Warrant Officer Sebastian Kinasiewicz. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”

Insitu did not immediately respond to requests for information about its training program, or when Kinasiewicz arrived in the country.

According to its website, Insitu instructors have trained more than 2,000 drone operators and maintenance technicians from across the world.

Poland, an Insitu customer for several years, has plans to expand its use of unmanned aerial vehicles.

The novice climber used an off day to go up the mountain Sunday, and was reported missing by a roommate the next morning. Crews found his vehicle at a trailhead, but a daylong search of two routes that start at that point failed to find him.

Kinasiewicz’s rank and survivor information were not immediately available. Websites in Polish say he was a warrant officer and had a background in photography. His work is displayed on a Facebook page dedicated to combat photography.

Thousands of people climb the 11,239-foot peak each year, mostly in the spring. Summer climbing is more dangerous because warmer temperatures melt the ice and loosen rocks.

A snowboarder from Colorado died on the mountain earlier this month when an ice tunnel collapsed. In July, searchers found the body of a Salem, Ore., dentist who suffered a fatal fall during a solo climb.

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