BRINNON, Wash. (WXIN) – It wasn’t a usual mountain rescue for first responders in Washington’s Olympic National Forest.
Instead of rescuing a hiker that was stranded at the top of a mountain, they came to the aid of a woman who was stuck inside an outdoor toilet on Tuesday.
The woman was using the facilities at the Mt. Walker vista point when she dropped her cell phone into the underground container below a vault toilet, according to a public Facebook post by the Brinnon Fire Department.
A vault toilet, typically found at campgrounds and near hiking trails, is waterless and non-flushing.
The woman first tried to get the phone out herself by taking the toilet seat and housing apart and using her dog’s leash to “fish” the phone out.
Crews said she was using the dog’s leash to support herself when she fell headfirst into the toilet.
After attempting for 15-20 minutes to get herself out of the container, the woman was able to get her hands on her phone and call 911.
The Brinnon and Quilcene fire departments responded and made a makeshift cribbing platform tall enough for the woman to stand on and pulled her to safety.
According to the Brinnon Fire Department, the woman was washed down and given a Tyvek suit — personal protective equipment in the style of a coverall — to wear. She did not wish to be taken to the hospital.
Crews urged her to seek medical attention after her exposure to human waste, but she only wanted to leave and continue on her way to California, they said.
They said the woman was lucky not to have become ill due to the toxic gases or hurt from the fall.