ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, Maine — A 60-year-old Alabama man injured his head and knee when he fell while hiking Monday afternoon on the Beehive Trail.
The accident happened at about 1:30 p.m., according to Ranger Richard Rechholtz. The man, Gary Stanko of Anniston, Ala., was climbing on the Beehive Trail with his wife. That trail is a ladder trail, Rechholtz said, which includes sections with metal rungs up the face of the cliff.
Stanko was climbing on the top ladder section when he fell backward and landed on the trail about 15 feet below.
“A witness said he was wearing a backpack and that it appeared that the backpack kept him from rolling off the trail,” Rechholtz said. “It was really fortunate that he landed on the trail.”
If he had gone off the trail, Rechholtz said, Stanko would have fallen another couple of hundred feet.
Stanko was unconscious when park rangers and members of Mount Desert Island Search and Rescue arrived at the site. They prepared for a technical rescue and packed Stanko into a specially designed litter. With three rescuers attached to the litter by harnesses to stabilize it, other team members at the top of the cliff used ropes and pulleys to lift the litter and the rescuers the 200 or so feet up the cliff.
Meanwhile, the Army National Guard in Bangor dispatched to the scene a Black Hawk helicopter with a paramedic on board. There was no room for the helicopter to land at the top of the cliff, so the paramedic rappelled from the chopper. The man was transferred to the chopper’s litter and with the paramedic was hoisted to the helicopter, according to Rechholtz. He then was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.
Rechholtz said Stanko suffered an orbital fracture on his face, a skull fracture with bleeding on both sides of the brain, and a knee injury in the fall. No information about Stanko’s condition was available Tuesday night.