Woman hurt in fall at Acadia National Park

Posted July 16, 2009, at 3:12 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:03 p.m.

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK — A woman from New York was rescued from the bottom of Otter Cliffs Thursday morning after she fell while rock climbing and hit her head, according to a park ranger.

The woman was climbing with a partner who was at the top of the oceanside cliffs belaying a rope to which the woman was tied, Ranger Richard Rechholtz said mid-Thursday afternoon. Rechholtz said he was unsure of the woman’s name and did not know if she had been wearing a helmet while climbing. He said she is 35 years old and from the New York City borough of Queens.

The woman had climbed to the side of the cliff face, out from being directly underneath her climbing partner, when she fell a few minutes before 10 a.m., Rechholtz said. The force of her fall pulled her partner to the edge of the top of the cliff and pulled him about 10 feet sideways while she fell in a diagonal pendulum-like motion, he said.

“The fall was roughly 20 feet,” Rechholtz said.

The incident occurred at low tide, he said.

Rangers and members of Mount Desert Island Search & Rescue responded to the call and lowered a litter to the bottom of the cliff, where the fallen climber was treated by a ranger who doubles as an emergency medical technician, according to Rechholtz.

An instructor with a climbing school who also is an EMT and who was climbing nearby assisted in treating the climber, he said. The injured woman and her climbing partner were not with the climbing school group, he said.

The U.S. Coast Guard had a boat stationed offshore while rangers decided how to carry the woman out, the park ranger said. They decided to put her in a floating litter and put her on the Coast Guard boat, which then transported the woman to the public dock in Seal Harbor. From there, the woman was transported by ambulance to MDI Hospital in Bar Harbor.

Rechholtz said that because of her injuries, the woman may end up being taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. Additional information about the incident and the woman was unavailable Thursday afternoon.

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