Rescue teams tonight located six teen-age students and two adults lost since Monday on frigid Mount Hood, two of them alive. The victims were found in a snow cave not far from where the bodies of three other members of the hiking party were found Wednesday.
Air Force and medical evacuation helicopters transported the eight victims, most of whom showed no heartbeat or respiration, to hospitals in the Portland area, about 50 miles to the west.
Six of the hikers later were pronounced dead.
However, a teen-age boy who was flown to Providence Medical Center "looks good," Dr. James Asaph said tonight. The boy, who a Clackamas County deputy sheriff said had "smiled at me" as he was being brought down the mountain, was on a heart-lung machine, Asaph said.
A female victim arrived at Emanuel Hospital in a conscious but delirious state, according to Dr. Clark Chipman, chief of the emergency department. Chipman said the girl is "combative, and we are very, very optimistic that she'll recover."
Air Force Master Sgt. Charlie Ek, who found the hikers, said he had been forced to detour to the spot, about 7,500 feet up the mountain, by a crevice. He said that when he pushed his probe into the snow, which was four feet to five feet deep, he felt something soft.
He said he called for other rescuers, and that they dug until they found a yellow tarp. Ek said he then pushed his way into the snow cave, where he heard sounds.
"There was noise. They were moaning and groaning," Ek said. "That's all we need to hear -- life."
Officials said the eight victims, part of a 13-member hiking party from the Oregon Episcopal School in Portland, were found huddled "on top of each other" in the cave, where the group took refuge Monday from an unexpected "whiteout" that reduced visibility to zero as the hikers neared the 11,245-foot summit of Mount Hood.
Two members of the party -- guide Ralph Summers, 30, and Molly Schula, 17 -- hiked 16 miles for help Tuesday, leaving the others huddled in the damp, small snow cave, which they had dug by hand.
Rescuers found three of the hikers Wednesday -- one of them only five feet from where the cave was found tonight.
That discovery came about 5:40 p.m. PDT, only minutes before the search was to have been called off for the night.
"We have patients," Sgt. Robert Harder, an Air Force paramedic and leader of one of the rescue teams, radioed from the site.
"Patient 1 is male, young. He has no temperature," Harder said. "When I put a thermometer in his mouth, he bites it off. EKG is as follows: very slow, pulse rate about 40." Normal pulse rate is 72 beats per minute.
Harder said two of the victims were conscious and that both had frozen extremities. "We cannot get IVs in them," he said.
Harder, who was in contact with physicians at Emanuel Hospital, expressed some concern about moving the victims, but was told by one doctor to "get them out of there."
Word by radio that "we have patients" startled the crews at the lodge here into a frenzy of activity, transporting medical and rescue equipment to helicopters and alerting area hospitals.
A half hour earlier, 17 rescue team members had refused to leave the mountain, asking for additional time because the area they were searching looked promising. "I'd be lynched if I tried to get them down now," one rescue crew member radioed.
The rescue teams were from the local sheriff's office, mountaineering clubs and the 304th Air Force rescue and evacuation team.
Harder kept up a constant stream of radio conversation with rescuers and doctors here and at Emanuel Hospital, alternately demanding more equipment and impatiently asking advice. After consulting with doctors, he decided it would be prudent to move the victims directly to a hospital despite the dangers in carrying them to a point where they could be picked up by helicopter.
At one point, frustrated with what he apparently felt was slow reaction, Harder barked: "Forget it. We're moving the patients on my medical expertise. Two minutes -- you can set your watch."
The rescue command post then broke in and said, "The doctor says get them out of there."
The hikers were identified as Marion Horwell, 40, dean of students at the school, who was on her first mountain hike; Rev. Thomas Goman, 42, and students Tasha Amy, Brinton Clark, Patrick Francis Mcginness, Giles Lewis Thompson, Richard Haeder and Susan Elizabeth McClave. McClave is 17; the other students are all 15.
Goman, a member of the American Alpine Club, has climbed Mount Hood, considered a relatively easy hike, 18 times.
The moody mountain, where weather can change in seconds, is the world's second most popular glacial peak for climbers, behind Mount Fuji in Japan. The Forest Service estimates that 10,000 people a year walk to the peak, which dominates the surrounding desert and nearby Columbia River Gorge.
More than 50 lives have been lost on the mountain since the first recorded death of a climber in 1896. The worst previous tragedy occurred in June 1981 when five people died.
Oregon Episcopal, an exclusive school of 560 students from kindergarten through high school, has maintained a four-year survival program for 32 years, including the optional climb up Mount Hood.
Summers, who with Schula left the group in search of help Tuesday, said rescuers had not searched the area around the cave earlier because "the area had changed so much" as a result of the fierce two-day storm that engulfed the hiking party.
He said he came back to the spot because "it sort of felt right."
He also said he left the other members of the party on Tuesday because someone needed to alert authorities as to where the hikers were.
Summers said one student refused to come with him because he said he was too cold and that he then called into the cave -- "I said, 'Who in there feels strong?' and Molly popped out of the cave."