Crews rescue injured hiker in Acadia National Park

Posted Oct. 07, 2008, at 3:33 p.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 6:18 a.m.

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK — Rescue crews worked into the night Monday to carry out a hiker who was injured while hiking on Cadillac Mountain.

Park rangers received the call at about 5 p.m. reporting an injured hiker on the West Face Trail that runs from Bubble Pond to the summit of Cadillac. The trail is rugged and steep and can be treacherous, according to Ranger Richard Rechholtz.

It took rangers almost an hour to reach the injured hiker, Steve Muller, 53, of Florence, Ala. Muller had injured his ankle and was unable to walk, so rangers and members of MDI Search and Rescue had to carry him out.

“We decided to go up to the top,” Rechholtz said. “It’s very difficult either way. But down was worse.”

Crews set up a rope belay to move Muller, who was on a litter, up the mountain. The rope belay ensures that, if one of the rescue crew slips, the litter will not slide down the mountain. The belay involves attaching a rope to the litter, which is anchored above. One of the crew members stationed above the rescuers uses a pulley and a brake to pull up slack in the rope as the team moves up the mountain.

They moved up the mountain in five sections, which took some time. It was about 11 p.m. by the time they reached the top.

“It was a long, tough carry,” Rechholtz said. “We don’t usually have rescues this late at night.”

Muller was taken by ambulance to Mount Desert Island Hospital in Bar Harbor where he was treated and later released.

In an unrelated incident, a Seal Harbor man who was injured while skate boarding in the park on Sept. 30 died Friday from his injuries.

According to Rechholtz, Corey O’Brien was skateboarding with some friends on the West Street Extension off Paradise Hill Road not far from the visitor’s center. The accident is still under investigation, but it appears that O’Brien fell backward off the skateboard. Rangers have not determined whether he hit his head on the pavement or on one of the large coping stones that line the road.

O’Brien was not wearing a helmet.

Rechholtz noted that skateboarding is prohibited in the park.

rhewitt@bangordailynews.net

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