Man Rescued in Fall at Wintergreen Gorge (11pm UPDATE) - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Man Rescued in Fall at Wintergreen Gorge (11pm UPDATE)

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A man falls 40 feet off of a cliff face in Wintergreen Gorge on Saturday evening near Penn State Behrend. Rescue crews worked for hours in the woods to save him.

The 20-year-old victim suffered serious injuries and is being treated at UPMC Hamot, but emergycare reported that he's in stable condition. 

"He was trying to climb a rope up a 300 foot embankment, made it about 40 feet up and fell into the creek," said Kevin Tobin, fire chief at Brookside Fire Company, which headed the rescue. The rope was apparently tied to a tree at the top of the cliff, and the victim was attempting to climb up from the creek below.

It happened off of Jordan Road around 4:30pm near PSB's Ohio Hall. Rescue crews say the victim was hiking alone, but luckily, other hikers were nearby.

"Other bystanders in the woods who were hiking, not with this gentleman, actually saw him fall. They're the ones that called 911," Tobin said.
 
Pulling the victim up 250 feet required extra manpower. More than  an hour into the rescue operation, more rope was sent to the rescue site,  and more manpower backup called.

"They set up a rope haul system, repelled two rescuers down to him, loaded him into a Stokes basket, and we were able to pull him back up the 250 foot embankment," Tobin said.

Another factor that made the rescue challenging was how deep into the woods the victim was - he was about a mile away from parking lot where ambulances and emergency vehicles were parked.

Perry Hi-Way assisted Brookside, and a total of seven crews responded to the scene.

Rescuers say a fall incident like this one happens just about every year, and other hikers in the area aren't surprised by the incident.

"In this day and age a lot of people take risks and risk taking is a part of life, and with his age taken into consideration, I'm sure he wanted to push the limits, and he did, " said Joe Marsteller, a Meadville resident who frequents Wintergreen Gorge.

The victim's name was not released, but Tobin said he was not a student at Behrend.


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