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(MOUNT HOOD, Ore.) — Two people were recovering from serious injuries after falling off the side of a mountain in Oregon.

A married couple was hiking an icy ridge at Mount Hood – about 10,000 feet up – when they nearly fell to their death early Saturday.

A rescuer, Kevin Watt, who was “facing the upper mountain when the climbers fell,” said he saw the hikers “sliding down the mountain at a high rate of speed.”

A rescue team training in the area raced to help, forming a human shield around the couple by using their packs as protection.

“They lined up above the patients and held their packs out to deflect the ice and rocks that were coming down,” said rescuer Mark Morford.

A National Guard helicopter airlifted the couple to a hospital. The man suffered a broken femur and the woman has two broken ankles.

A third hiker, who also tumbled during the rescue, made it down with the help of the crew.

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