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Man who fell on climbing wall near Hagerstown expected to return to retreat

May 30, 2011

A man who fell on a climbing wall at the Mt. Aetna Camp and Retreat Center near Hagertown Sunday afternoon only suffered minor bruises and was expected to return to the retreat center to complete a holiday weekend event with a group, according to a news release from the camp.

The 18-year-old man fell while participating in a challenge course activity at the facility located on Mt. Aetna Road about 4:30 p.m., the release said.

The man was wearing a climbing harness and a helmet and was being assisted by a certified facilitator, the release said.

At about 15 feet, the man told the facilitator that he was going to fall, the release said.

There is a difference between a fall on the wall and a fall to the ground, the release said. Falls on the wall are routine, and Sunday's fall was limited to the 42-foot wall, the release said.

Staff members said the man was unconscious after the fall, James Ulrich, deputy chief of Smithsburg Emergency Medical Services, said Sunday.

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

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

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