Members of a rescue team including Mount Desert Island Search and Rescue volunteers, Acadia Mountain Guides, Bar Harbor paramedics and park rangers worked for eight hours Monday night to safely move a hiker with broken bones to an ambulance. PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVIN O'CONNELL

Hiker rescued

ACADIA NAT’L PARK — A 26-year-old man suffered broken bones and cuts when he fell while climbing one of the technical rung sections of the Precipice Trail shortly before 6 p.m. Monday, according to park officials.

The Portland resident, whose name has not been released, was taken to Mount Desert Island Hospital following a difficult and complex rescue operation by Mount Desert Island Search and Rescue (MDISAR), Acadia Mountain Guides, Bar Harbor paramedics and Acadia personnel. In all, 36 people were involved in the rescue.

The man who fell told rescuers that, while he was on a rung, he reached up and grabbed a rock to help pull himself up to the next rung. But the rock came loose and he somersaulted an estimated 60 feet down the cliff. His injuries were considered serious but not life threatening.

Because of heavy fog, a helicopter could not be used in the rescue. The injured man had to be carried out on a litter. The difficult terrain required rescuers to set up a half-dozen belay stations to get the patient to the Orange and Black Trail.

Then a guiding line – a tightly strung rope that suspends the litter just above the ground – was used to lower the patient 300 feet to the Park Loop Road, where an ambulance was waiting.

The entire operation took nearly eight hours, which meant much of it was after dark.

“Although MDISAR regularly trains with guiding/highline systems, this was one of the first times it has been used during a rescue in Acadia,” Davin O’Connell, the organization’s president, wrote in a post on the group’s Facebook page. “The rescue required at least 6 different belays be set up to protect the patient and the rescuers as they worked near the numerous vertical edges of the trail.”

The Precipice Trail is considered one of Acadia’s most technically challenging.

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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