Hiker rescued after falling down mountain slide (update)
A hiker slid 75 to 100 feet down a rock slide on an Adirondack mountain, went airborne and somehow survived with only a broken leg.
Tyler Sheehan, 25, of Red Hook, was hiking on Hopkins Mountain in the town of Keene around 3 p.m. Wednesday when he reportedly fell from a ledge, state Department of Environmental Conservation spokeswoman Lori Severino wrote in an email.
“Mr. Sheehan slid approximately 100 feet down an open rock face and was thrown into the air before he was able to stop his descent and call for help,” she wrote.
Sheehan used a cell phone to dial 911, and the call was answered by Essex County’s 911 dispatch center. Five DEC forest rangers, four state police Special Operations Response Team members, an Essex County sheriff’s deputy and members of the Keene and Keene Valley fire departments helped rescue him, Severino wrote.
“Mr. Sheehan was located at 5 p.m. thanks to coordinates provided by his cell phone to 911,” she said.
Corey Fehlner, a Keene Valley Fire Department member, was part of the rescue team that responded to the scene.
“We found him sitting up using his hands and arms to keep weight off of his injured leg,” Fehlner told the Enterprise in a Facebook message. “He had cuts and bruises and was banged up pretty bad, but his primary complaint was his left leg.”
Fehlner said a pair of emergency medical technicians – Ian Hall and Lance LeClair – stabilized Sheehan’s leg with help from forest ranger Chris Kostoss and Keene firefighter Scott Purdy.
Rescuers packaged Sheehan in a litter and flagged and cleared a path for the group to carry him out. Fehlner said the first leg of the carry, from where Sheehan landed to the bottom of the slide, required four different rope belays because the terrain was so steep.
“From the edge of the washout back to the main trail was about half a mile (or less),” Fehlner wrote. “When we reached the end of the trail, a pickup truck was used to transport the patient to the bottom of Levi Lamb Road, where the Keene Valley Fire Department ambulance was waiting.”
Sheehan was taken to Elizabethtown Community Hospital. In addition to the fractured leg, Severino said Sheehan was treated for numerous scrapes and mild hypothermia symptoms.
At some point Sheehan was transferred to Albany Medical Center, where he works as a registered nurse, according to his Facebook page. On Thursday night, he posted a photo of himself in his hospital bed with his left leg in a cast, a smile on his face and two thumbs up.
“Slipped down a 75-foot slide and on the way down there was an elevated stone that took me airborne about 15 or 20 feet,” Sheehan wrote in a post below the picture. “Landed on my left leg where my toes decided to kiss my shin. Forest rangers (came) in less than an hour and carried me via stretcher for about two miles.”
Severino said the slide Sheehan slid down is one of many Tropical Storm Irene created in the Adirondacks in August 2011. Fehlner said the consensus of the rescuers was that the lower part of it, which he referred to as a washout, was relatively new and had been caused by flooding in June.
Contact Chris Knight at 518-891-2600 ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.