13-Year-Old Girl Rescued After Falling 150 Feet Into Gorge in New York State Park

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Posnov via Getty Images)

On Saturday morning, New York police received a distressing call. While visiting Letchworth State Park, a 13-year-old girl had fallen into the gorge. Known as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” the walls of the New York State Park’s gorge rise close to 600 feet in some areas. Uncertain of what they would find, New York State Park Police, along with EMS and Fire Department officials, set out to recover the child.

Upon their arrival, rescue crews successfully located the young hiker. Though she had fallen a considerable distance, she thankfully hadn’t slipped at the gorge’s greatest height. Instead, she fell approximately 150 feet down the slope.

With the help of the Park Police High Angle Rope Rescue Team, first responders were able to climb down to where she had fallen to secure her in a stokes basket. They then safely removed her from the gorge, transporting her to a nearby hospital via ambulance for evaluation.

The young girl was found to have multiple injuries from the horrifying fall at the New York State Park. They were non-life threatening, however, and she’s expected to make a full recovery.

New York Police shared the success story on Facebook, where they received messages of gratitude from users across the country.

“Hope the patron is okay. Thanks to NYSPP High Angle Rope Rescue Team and all the others who assisted. Stay safe and thank you for your dedication!” one user wrote. “Thank you for your dedication and hard work! True heroes,” another said.

Hiker Plunges 250 Feet Into New York State Park Gorge

Like any state or national park, Letchworth State Park in New York has designated hiking areas in which visitors are free and welcome to explore. Portions of these hikes, of course, take visitors to scenic viewpoints of the breathtaking gorge.

In these areas, steps are taken to protect hikers from potentially deadly falls from the cliffs below. Rather than encouraging hikers to approach the gorge, there are barriers meant to keep visitors at a safe distance. Some visitors, however, choose to disregard these safety measures for a closer look. And it’s this inadvisable action that most often results in serious injury and even death.

Earlier this year, a man fell 250 feet into the New York State Park gorge after climbing the protective fence for a picture. Miraculously, the man didn’t plunge to his death. Rescuers, however, reminded other visitors that this outcome is not the most likely. The man was incredibly lucky.

“This rescue is a reminder of both the danger present when regulations are disregarded and the importance of having these essential Park Police members available,” they wrote in a statement. The foolish hiker was given a citation for breaking park rules and will hopefully have a better appreciation of safety measures in future adventures.