PORTLAND The surveyor who was rescued with the help from a Coast Guard helicopter is recovering at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center.

Now, he is thanking his rescuers.

Dennis Keister, 57, punctured a lung and broke some ribs. But he is alert and getting better.

On Thursday, time was of the essence getting him to a hospital. And now we know how dangerous the mission was for the Coast Guard crew.

The MH-60 Helicopter s main blades clipped some tree branches as it maneuvered deep into a ravine.

Background: Copper clips trees rescuing man after fall

Luckily, the helicopter was not damaged.

The trees were 300 feet above us on all sides and our hoist cable is 200 feet long, so we had to get in a position like that so we could affect a rescue, said Lt. Cmdr. Dan Leary, the Coast Guard pilot who steered the aircraft into position for a successful rescue.

Keister was well enough Friday to offer a written thank you to everyone involved in his rescue, including the Coast Guard, Forest Grove and Cornelius Fire crews, Oregon State Police, his two work partners, and even an inmate work crew that was in the area and helped out.

Keister wrote, I'd like to thank the first responders... for risking their lives to take care of me after my accident yesterday. All of them worked very hard at substantial risk to their own safety to make sure I was safe and got medical care as soon as possible. I will forever be indebted to them.

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