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Leg injuries keep Maine search and rescue team busy

Mount Desert Island Search and Rescue personnel responded to injured hikers in Acadia National Park

By Charles Eichacker
Bangor Daily News

BAR HARBOR, Maine — Two hikers fell and suffered leg injuries in Acadia National Park at about the same time on Tuesday, requiring separate groups of rescuers to carry each person out of the woods.

At around 12:30 p.m., a 71-year-old woman fell and broke her leg on the summit of South Bubble Mountain, according to Amanda Pollock, a spokesperson for the park. Fifteen minutes later, a 60-year-old man fell and injured his knee on Gorham Mountain Trail.

In both cases, a team of rescuers strapped the person into a portable stretcher known as a litter and carried them to a point where they could be taken to Mount Desert Island Hospital, Pollock said.

The agencies and organizations that participated in the rescues included the park, the Bar Harbor Fire Department, Friends of Acadia Summit Stewards, and MDI Search and Rescue.

“With carry-outs, the most important thing required in a response is people,” Pollock said. “Carrying a human being off a trail requires a ton of strength. Generally speaking, in an ideal situation, we would have between 12-18 people supporting the rescue effort per mile we need to carry the injured individual. Environmental conditions can quickly exacerbate that — and could require additional support staff.”

Tuesday’s injuries came just a day after a climber on South Bubble Mountain had to be rescued after he slid and fell about 50 feet, becoming stranded. In that case, rescuers had to conduct a “high-angle” rescue to get the litter to the man.

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