Anglers become hiker's rescuers

GIG HARBOR - Although the halibut fishing trip was unsuccessful, a Gig Harbor man and his two friends rescued a Canadian man who was immobile and stranded after falling 20 feet off a cliff last week.

The Canadian man, Allan Angeles, had been lying there for three days.

John Horjes of Gig Harbor, Mark Kidd from Port Orchard and Al Birkland from Issaquah were a quarter-mile off shore when they saw a yellow flag waiving in the air, signaling distress.

The group was fishing near the western coast of Vancouver Island but was having problems with fishing equipment. That's when Horjes decided to show his friends some scenic coastline in an extremely remote area.

Coincidentally, they observed something much more than just lush green coastline.

"We thought it could be something snagged on a branch," Horjes said.

Too far away to be visible, the group didn't suspect it was a person until they got closer and saw Angeles in serious pain.

Angeles was waiving a yellow flag on a stick. Horjes said the coastline extends about 50 miles and, to Angeles' luck, the group was floating in that specific location.

Angeles was in bad condition after falling onto some rocks. He had been hiking alone on a an extensive trail more than 45 miles long.

Horjes and Kidd work for the state ferry system. They have conducted routine rescue missions before as part of their job.

However, Kidd said, they'd never experienced something like this before.

"I've rescued capsized people, but this last one was a pretty neat experience," Kidd said. "He (Angeles) mentioned he was getting worried about the possibility that nobody would see him."

Angeles' injuries consisted of a broken pelvis and terribly bruised legs, with other parts of his body banged up.

"He (Angeles) said 'You guys saved my life,' " Horjes said.

Angeles, 25, is recovering from his injuries at his home and will be on crutches the next few months.