Blue Hill woman injured after falling on Gulf Hagas hike

Posted Aug. 15, 2010, at 10:33 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:37 a.m.

GULF HAGAS, Maine — A Blue Hill woman was rescued early Sunday evening after she fell and injured both legs, one severely, while hiking in the Gulf Hagas region.

Jody Rackliffe, 28, had fallen while descending the Gulf View Lookout, which is about the center point of the gulf area, Warden Roger Guay of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife said late Sunday night. “It’s a pretty steep spot,” he said.

Rackliffe had been hiking with a group of people from the Orland area when she fell around 11 a.m., according to Guay. One of the hikers in the group walked the lengthy distance to the Katahdin Iron Works gate to call for help, he said.

“We could hear the screaming from at least a half-mile away,” Guay said. Rackliffe had injured both legs, and the toes on her right foot were pointed in the opposite direction from normal, he said. “She was screaming at the top of her lungs. She was in total agony.”

About 15 people representing Milo and Greenville fire and rescue, medics from Charles A. Dean Memorial Hospital in Greenville, forestry employees, and the Greenville Police Department assisted wardens in carrying Rackliffe down the trail, Guay said.

Guay said initially it appeared Rackliffe would have to be carried for two to three miles, but the rescuers got her onto the Carriage Trail near Screw Auger Falls close to an old landing zone. From there, she was put onto a forestry helicopter at 6:50 p.m. and flown to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

“It was very challenging, but by getting the helicopter in there, we were able to cut out a pretty bad stretch [of trail],” Guay said. It also reduced the carryout distance to 1½ miles, he added. “We wouldn’t have gotten her out until 10 or 11 p.m. otherwise.”

Hospital officials told Guay later that Rackliffe had fractured or dislocated her right ankle and also had suffered injuries to her left leg.

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