Brownville man injured in tumble over Acadia waterfall

Acadia National Park rangers and members of Mount Desert Island Search & Rescue carry a Brownville man down Canon Brook Trail after the man slipped and fell 40 feet over a waterfall while hiking on the trail on Saturday.
Linda Eddings
Acadia National Park rangers and members of Mount Desert Island Search & Rescue carry a Brownville man down Canon Brook Trail after the man slipped and fell 40 feet over a waterfall while hiking on the trail on Saturday.
Posted June 30, 2013, at 6:03 a.m.

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, Maine — A Brownville man was taken to a Bar Harbor hospital Saturday after he fell over a waterfall while hiking up a steep section of trail on Cadillac Mountain, according to an Acadia park ranger.

The 44-year-old man was hiking up Canon Brook Trail with two young sons when the incident occurred around 1:30 p.m., Ranger Edward Pontbriand said Saturday evening. The park does not release the names of people who are injured while visiting Acadia.

According to Pontbriand, the man lost his footing while crossing a stream as it was raining. He slid over a waterfall, struck a ledge and then fell farther, coming to rest about 40 feet below where he had slipped, he said. He suffered what Pontbriand described as “multi-system trauma,” including a head injury.

“He was pretty banged up,” the ranger said. “After the fall, with the help of his kids and other hikers, he was able to get out of the water. He tried to walk a short way before he discovered his injuries were preventing him from walking further.”

Pontbriand said the accident occurred about 100 feet from where a New Brunswick woman fractured her ankle on the same trail in May.

Hikers who assisted the Brownville man went farther up the trail to get a cellphone signal and to report the accident to park personnel, Pontbriand said. More than 20 rangers and members of Mount Desert Island Search & Rescue drove to the summit of Cadillac Mountain and hiked down the trail to where the man was. Winds were blowing 25 to 30 mph, visibility was reduced to about 50 feet, the air temperature was 55 degrees and it was raining hard as response personnel hiked down the trail, he said.

Because of the steep section of trail directly above where the hiker landed, rangers decided to carry him down the trail toward Route 3 rather than to the mountain summit. The secured him in a litter, lowered him by ropes for about 100 feet, and then attached a large mountain bike wheel to the bottom of the litter to make it easier to transport along the flatter part of the trail.

By the time rescue personnel loaded the man into an ambulance at the Route 3 trailhead, it was 5:30 p.m., Pontbriand said. The hiker still was being evaluated at MDI Hospital in Bar Harbor on Saturday evening, he said.

The ranger said that the man and his two boys, whose ages Pontbriand did not know, had to be treated for hypothermia. They all were soaking wet from the rain and incident in the stream, he said, and became chilled as they waited on the trail for help to arrive.

Pontbriand said hikers in the park need to take extra precautions when out in inclement weather. Trails can be waterlogged and slippery, he said, and hikers should always have good footwear and carry extra clothes and drinking water in the event of an accident that might delay their return. Being prepared with extra supplies or equipment can help minimize the effects of mishaps that may occur, he said.

“You’ve got to be very careful,” the ranger said. “Everything compounds.”

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