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Mountain rescue

Hiker falls from cliff on Appalachian Trail

Hiker falls from cliff on Appalachian Trail

May 02, 2006|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

SANDY HOOK ? A man in his 20s was injured Monday night after falling about 30 feet from a cliff along the Appalachian Trail in the Maryland Heights area, according to rescuers.

The man was hiking with three others when he fell about 5 p.m., Potomac Valley Volunteer Fire Co. Assistant Chief Eric Gray said. Firefighters walked about one mile from the area where Harpers Ferry Road meets the railroad bridge west of Sandy Hook to reach the man. He fell into a ravine bordered by rock ledges, Gray said.

The man had lower back injuries and was flown to Washington County Hospital, Gray said. The hiker was in stable condition at the time he was transported about 8 p.m., said Gray, who did not believe the man's injuries were life-threatening.

Fire Chief Ronnie Gray said rescue personnel had trouble finding the man and had to rely on a fellow hiker to show rescuers where to find him.

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"It would have been hard to find him without help from others," he said.

Rescue personnel from special operations units in Frederick and Washington counties used a rope system to hoist the man back onto the cliff, Eric Gray said. A Maryland State Police helicopter transported the man from the area.

Units from Potomac Valley, Brunswick, Md., Boonsboro and the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association Rehab unit responded, along with park personnel.

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