ACADIA NATIONAL PARK — A 52-year old woman from Maine had to be evacuated off a cliffside trail here by Maine Forest Service helicopter Wednesday after experiencing heart problems.
According to ranger reports the woman, who walks with the aid of a cane, attempted to climb the front of the Beehive on a narrow trail that features iron ladder rungs and drop offs of 100 feet or more. She got approximately a third of the way up the mountain, beyond at least one set of ladder rungs, but began experiencing distress around 3 p.m.
Early reports stated the woman may have been having a heart attack.
Once rangers and Bar Harbor Paramedics were able to hike up to the woman they determined it would be too risky to rescuers and take too long, to attempt to carry her down the trail.
The Maine Forest Service was contacted for what is called a “short haul.” In that technique a victim is placed in a special nylon body suit with built in harness and lifted from the cliff and set down close nearby. A crew member hangs off the cable with the patient the entire way.
Once the helicopter pilot determined it was safe to do so, the woman was lifted from the Beehive and taken to a waiting Bar Harbor Ambulance at the nearby Schooner Head Overlook parking area. She was transported to the Mount Desert Island Hospital in Bar Harbor.
According to rangers, visitors should carefully weigh their own abilities and fitness before attempting strenuous trails with dangerous exposures. “You really need to have good mobility to do things like that,” Ranger Richard Rechholtz said.