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Family of fallen Mt. Hood climber files $10 million lawsuit, claims rescue was delayed

It took four hours for a rescue helicopter to arrive after the first 911 call was placed.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The family of a 32-year-old climber who died after tumbling 600 feet down Mount Hood in 2017 has filed a $10 million lawsuit against Clackamas County.

The lawsuit claims the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office and county 911 were responsible for a series of missteps that contributed to a more than four-hour rescue delay.

John Thornton Jenkins fell down the mountain May 7, 2017. The lawsuit states that eight minutes later, another climber reached Jenkins and called 911 for help, but a dispatcher transferred the call to the sheriff's office. The suit says the sheriff's office told the caller to contact ski patrol, which called 911 and was again transferred to the sheriff's office. (Story continues below)

Listen to the first 911 call

Listen to the second 911 call

A helicopter arrived four hours later and Jenkins stopped breathing in the rescue basket.

County spokesman Tim Heider released a statement Tuesday afternoon, extending condolences to Jenkins' family while defending the sheriff's office and 911 department.

"When all the facts are presented, the county is confident they will show that the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office and our C-COM 911 Department responded appropriately to this tragic accident," the statement read in part. Read the complete statement.

On the KGW News app? Tap to read the lawsuit

RELATED: August 2017 analysis of the fall by the Oregonian

BACKGROUND: Seattle climber dies after 600-foot fall on Mt. Hood

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