Man seriously injured in fall from rock wall at retreat center

May 29, 2011|By DAVE MCMILLION |

An 18-year-old man was seriously injured when he fell from a climbing wall at the Mt. Aetna Camp and Retreat Center on Mt. Aetna Road Sunday afternoon, officials said.

The man fell from an outside rock wall that is about 50 feet high, said James Ulrich, deputy chief of Smithsburg Emergency Medical Services.

The man was in the middle of a climb when he fell, Ulrich said.

It appears the man had a possible head injury, which possibly is life-threatening, Ulrich said.

The man-made rock wall is similar to others seen at other recreational facilities, Ulrich said. The man was using safety equipment when the fall occurred, Ulrich said.

The wall is in a fairly remote area and there were staff members at the scene when rescue crews arrived, Ulrich said.

Rescue crews, which were notified of the accident at 4:31 p.m., were able to drive to within about 50 yards of where the man fell and carried equipment the rest of the way, Ulrich said.

Staff members said the man was unconscious after the fall, he said.

When rescue crews reached him, he was awake but not talking, Ulrich said.

The man was taken to an ambulance at a parking lot, then was flown by helicopter to Meritus Medical Center, Ulrich said.

 The camp at 21905 Mt. Aetna Road is a Christian retreat center owned and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, according to the camp’s website.

 The facility offers a summer camp, an outdoor school and a ropes course, according to the website.


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