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Rescuers save teen at Kaaterskill Falls

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    Amanda Purcell/Columbia-Greene MediaRescuers helped bring an injured hiker back to the trailhead at Kaaterskill Falls on Friday.
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    Amanda Purcell/Columbia-Greene MediaA hiker suffered a leg and pelvis injuries after falling a couple hundred feet at Kaaterskill Falls on Friday.
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    Amanda Purcell/Columbia-Greene MediaA hiker fell at Kaaterskill Falls after he went off the trail Friday.
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    Amanda Purcell/Columbia-Greene MediaA teen was taken to a hospital after he fell a few hundred feet at Kaaterskill Falls on Friday.
July 6, 2018 10:46 pm

HAINES FALLS — A teenager was taken to the hospital after he fell about 200 feet off the rocks at Kaaterskill Falls on Friday, according to state Department of Environmental Conservation officers.

The hiker from Passaic, New Jersey, who was not identified because he is under age 18, fell around 5:30 p.m., state Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Ranger Rob Dawson said.

“He was below the platform, off the trail where he slipped on a steep slope and slid down,” said Dawson, who helped in the rescue efforts. “He sustained an injury to his left side and below the hip and pelvis area and left arm. He was able to make it down.”

The teen was found, off the trail, on the opposite side of the stream near the staircase – about a half-mile from the trailhead on Route 23A.

The rescue took about two hours. An assistant forest ranger at the top of the falls descended and provided immediate medical care. Three other forest rangers soon responded.

A bystander called 911 once rangers got to the trailhead, Dawson said.

Using ropes and several hands to carry a stretcher which held the teen, the Twin Cloves Rope Rescue Team slowly made its way down the rocky hillside to a waiting ambulance. It was unclear where the teen was taken for medical treatment. The teen’s condition was not immediately known.

The terrain where the teen was found is rocky and unstable, Dawson said.

“It was super steep,” Dawson said. “There are really loose rocks and it is very dangerous for the public. I don’t even go in that area.”

In 2016, the DEC completed safety enhancements and other trail improvements at Kaaterskill Falls to improve public safety.

“As forest rangers with the DEC, we discourage that [going off the trail] highly,” said Dawson. “We want the public to stay on the trails for their safety. That is the whole reason why we put in a connecting trail and staircase to provide people safety.”

This is the second rescue at popular hiking spot this year. The first involved an ankle injury, Dawson said. About 1,000 people visited the waterfalls per day last weekend.

Firefighters and paramedics from Centerville-Cedar Grove, Haines Falls, Hunter, Palenville and Tannersville, and Greene County Paramedics responded. Hunter police also responded.

Emergency responders left the scene around 7:45 p.m.

“It could have been a lot worse,” Dawson said.

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.