Press-Republican

Local News

July 10, 2013

Teen suffers head injury from fall

REDFORD — A 17-year-old suffered a head injury in a fall from a swinging rope above High Falls Dam on Monday.

The accident took place, Saranac Volunteer Fire Department Chief Don Uhler said, while the teen was playing “on an old rope swing that a lot of people like to enjoy.” 

Instead of swinging out over the open water, he fell short and lost his grip. Then, “he fell 6 to 8 feet and struck the back of his head on the rock, knocking himself unconscious.”

At that critical moment, the two friends he was with came to his aid.

“His friends took very appropriate action. They got him to shore and held him and let him float, protecting his head,” Uhler said.

“They were smart young people.”

Uhler would not release the teen’s name Tuesday. The Saranac fire chief did say that he believed the teen is a resident of Saranac.

His medical condition was unknown Tuesday.

ROPE SYSTEM

The Saranac Fire Department received the initial call around 6:30 p.m. and was first to arrive. The injured boy was unresponsive at that time. 

“Due to the potential for serious injury, we made the decision to call for the Life Flight (to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington).”

Before he could be airlifted, he had to be taken out of the water.

“We got him on a backboard and got him to shore,” Uhler said.

However, the shoreline was at the edge of an embankment that the chief estimated to be 65 to 70 feet in height with a 25-to-30-degree slope.

“We used our rope knowledge and had a team set up a rope system at the top of the embankment to hoist up our young man.”

AIRLIFTED

Then, the teen was placed in a stokes basket — a wire basket used in rescue operations— and carried by all-terrain vehicle to the waiting ambulance. 

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