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Climber rescued after fall

June 26, 1998|By TERRY TALBERT

by RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer

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climber rescued after fallBOONSBORO - A camp counselor plunged 70 feet Thursday when she grabbed the wrong rope while rappelling down a cliff on the Appalachian Trail, a park ranger said.

Rescue crews and park rangers worked for more than two hours to rescue Shelley Nicole Roush, 20, after she fell from Annapolis Rocks in Washington County's South Mountain Recreation Area.

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Roush, of Pittsburgh, Pa., was listed in ??? condition Thursday night at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Paramedic Mary Jane Blickenstaff of the Boonsboro Ambulance and Rescue company said the woman broke her pelvis, both arms and legs, and suffered chest injuries in the fall.

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She was flown by Maryland State Police Medevac helicopter to the shock trauma center.

Roush fell while she was rappelling down rocks during a climbing exercise, according to a Maryland Department of Natural Resources officer.

Roush, a counselor at Camp Louise, a girls' camp in northern Washington County, was hiking the trail with three other counselors and eight campers, Park Service Sgt. Angela Olah said.

The call for help came in shortly after 10 a.m.

Roush was described by officials as conscious and responsive when rescue workers carried her to the top of the cliff in a basket.

Annapolis Rocks is in a rural backpacking, camping and rock-climbing area two to three miles from the intersection of Alt. U.S. 40 east and Interstate 70 east in the recreation area. The site is about a quarter mile off the Appalachian Trail, and offers a spectacular view of three states, rangers said.

The area where the woman fell is on the Washington/Frederick County line, and rescue units from both counties responded to the emergency call, officials said.

Ten medics and rescue workers from Boonsboro and Mount Aetna fire and rescue companies, along with Olah and Park Ranger Brenda Rohback, worked to stabilize the woman and carry her up the cliff. Olah also is an Emergency Medical Technician with the Myersville Fire Department, officials said.

RescueThe Medevac helicopter landed in a grassy area off U.S. 40 just over the Frederick County line shortly after the call came in, and waited there until word came that the Roush had been carried to the top of the cliff.

At about 12:45 p.m. the helicopter crew took off and plucked Roush off the cliff. She was placed in a basket that descended from a hoist outside the helicopter, and flown back to the staging area, where she was put into the helicopter on a backboard.

As he waited for word that Roush had reached the top of the cliff, Medevac pilot Cpl. Marvin Holt said he'd made air rescues after similar falls, but had never picked anyone up from Annapolis Rocks.

Medevac paramedic Trooper 1st Class Chuck Smith said it was his first time making a rescue at Annapolis Rocks.

The crew left with their patient for the 15-minute flight to shock trauma at 12:55 p.m.

Bill Harclerode, Greenbrier-South Mountain Recreation Area park technician, said more visitors are using the South Mountain Recreation Area.

As more people try rock climbing, "this kind of rescue is getting more and more common," Harclerode said.

South Mountain Recreation Area Park Manager Daniel P. Spedden said the fall was the second from Annapolis Rocks this year.

"The other incident involved an enormous amount of alcohol," he said. "It was not a legitimate excursion into the park."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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