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Hiker saved after falling 60 feet off cliff in Chesterfield

A hiker who fell down a cliff at Chesterfield Gorge on Sunday was lifted to safety with a high-angle rope rescue system.
A hiker who fell down a cliff at Chesterfield Gorge on Sunday was lifted to safety with a high-angle rope rescue system.(Chesterfield Fire Department)

A hiker was lifted to safety Sunday afternoon after he fell around 60 feet down a cliff at Chesterfield Gorge in Chesterfield, officials said.

The 66-year-old man was hiking with his son shortly after 12 p.m. when he fell partway down the approximately 100-foot gorge, prompting his son to call for help, said Daryl Springman, the assistant director for the Western Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team, which helped out with the rescue.

The rescue team, along with the Chesterfield, Goshen, and Williamsburg fire departments, implemented a high-angle rope rescue system, which is used when a victim’s weight is supported entirely by ropes, making him or her unable to stand, Springman said. This technique is generally used when the slope of the cliff is very steep.

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Members of the four rescue teams had been training together “extensively” for this type of rescue, said Chesterfield Fire Chief David Hewes. The crews get together once a month to practice high- and low-angle rope rescue techniques.

The crews’ training made the rescue mission “extremely smooth,” Hewes said.

Efforts to extricate the hiker, who was injured, lasted just over one hour, officials said. The man was put on a medical board within a basket and hauled up the side of the gorge with two rescuers alongside making sure the basket remained steady.

The hiker was flown to Baystate Medical Center. Neither Springman nor the Chesterfield Fire Department commented on the severity of the injuries.


Andres Picon can be reached at andres.picon@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @andpicon.