Woman Aids Man Who Fell 50 From Bluff In Clinton - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Woman Aids Man Who Fell 50 From Bluff In Clinton

Updated: Sep 30, 2012 11:47 PM CDT
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A man is injured after falling 50 feet from the bluffs at a Clinton park. After he lost his footing, a woman picnicking nearby was determined to find him and wait with him for help to arrive.

It happened around 2:20 Sunday afternoon at Eagle Point Park. It's a popular hiking and sight-seeing area, but much of it is treacherous terrain. There are signs posted every few feet warning people of the area's dangers. This is a close call situation that emergency crews, and frequent park-goers in Clinton know all too well.

Tracey Griser was spending the afternoon at the park's lodge with her son for a church picnic. She knows well the dangers of the bluffs that overlook the river nearby. "I probably started hiking here when I was 16," said Griser, "If you're careful you'll be fine, but one slip up and you're a goner."

When emergency crews showed up at the park and told her a man had fallen 50 feet and slid another 50 feet down and 45 degree slope, Griser said to her son she knew exactly where the man was. From a look-out point she says emergency crews were in verbal contact with the man below. Griser, determined to get to him, took a route down the bluffs she knew and was first to be by his side.

"He was just like, 'oh my god you're my angel.' I'm like no, I'm just here to make sure you're okay. I wouldn't want to be alone," said Griser.

She says the man was up and walking but had bad scrapes up and down his back and gashes on the front and back of his head. Griser sat with him until firefighters brought an ATV with a cart down the railroad tracks to him. "I held his hand and said okay, you can do this. It's going to hurt but you can do this."

It's close call that is becoming all too familiar. Griser says she'd like to see a change in the response, suggesting the implementation of a crew that covers the park for situations like this. "I don't care if it's volunteers that climb rocks as a hobby, but if they know this area and if they're like me a civilian that says, 'I know these trails,' let me help."

Firefighters say they do go through high angle rescue training for situations like this. For each one they assess which way is safest for crews to respond. In this case officials did not think going down the bluffs to reach him was the best option.

"In this situation we had verbal contact with the person and as long as we maintain that contact, it may have taken a little bit longer, but it was safer to get somebody to go up the tracks and assess him that way," said Clinton Fire Department Battalion Chief Joel Atkinson.

The man was with his young son and officials say they were in a restricted area. The son did not fall. His father was air lifted to a Quad Cities hospital. Officials are not releasing his condition or his identity at this time.

This is the second fall in that area in just months, the fourth there in almost two years. In May of 2010 a 13-year old boy slipped and fell about 80 feet down the bluffs near the thousand steps area. First responders say he was on a restricted trail and he suffered head, face and arm injuries. A month later in that same spot a 12-year old boy got too close to the edge and fell 60 feet down. He also survived. So did a 48-year old woman who was hiking when she fell 90 feet down those bluffs this past April.

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