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Teen injured in cliff slide

March 02, 1997

By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

Staff Writer

SANDY HOOK - A 14-year-old West Virginia boy appeared to have suffered only minor injuries after sliding about 20 feet down the side of a cliff along Sandy Hook Road on Sunday afternoon, according to rescue officials.

The accident happened shortly before 3 p.m. on the Cliff Overlook across from Maryland Heights in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, according to Park Ranger Robert Sampsell.

The teen, whose identity and hometown is being withheld because of his age, had been walking along the cliff trail with two other boys and two girls when he began jumping from rock to rock and slipped off the cliff's edge, Sampsell said.

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The boy's friends helped him climb back up and were in the process of helping him walk down the trail when rescue workers met them, he said.

A young man who was hiking along the trail at the time of the accident ran down the mountain and called 911, Sampsell said.

Rangers spotted the boy and his friends from an observation area across the Potomac River and directed rescue workers to him, he said.

Members of the Brunswick (Md.) Volunteer Ambulance Company met the group about two miles up the trail and drove the boy down the mountain, said Rescue Chief George Frye.

The boy told rescue workers he had fallen about 20 feet, said Frye, who estimates the cliff he fell from was about 2,200 feet high.

He was taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital, Frye said.

No information could be obtained from the hospital without the boy's name, according to a nursing supervisor.

The boy was alert and appeared to have escaped major injury, Frye said.

"Basically, he suffered abrasions from his fall," Frye said.

This is the second time someone has fallen on the Maryland side of the park this year, said Sampsell, who is part of the park's Mountain Search and Rescue Team.

"It's something we prepare for," he said. "Some years, we have a lot of them. Some years, we don't have any."

Most climbing accidents in the park result from inexperience, Sampsell said.

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