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Woman rescued after fall from Grandad Bluff

By Martha Boehm, mboehm@wkbt.com
Published On: Aug 28 2013 08:01:18 AM CDT
Updated On: Aug 29 2013 08:03:14 AM CDT

WKBT, News8000.com

LA CROSSE, WI -

Crews rescued a 22-year-old womanhiker who fell about 40-50 feet from an unauthorized area of Grandad Bluff Wednesday morning.

Frank Devine of the La Crosse Technical Rescue Team says the woman received injuries that "were quite severe" but would not go into detail. 

The hiker was able to call 911 from her cell phone. Tri-State Ambulance said they got a call around 7:30 a.m. that a woman had fallen from the bluff and said she thought her leg was broken.

Crews had to cut down trees in order to rescue her. La Crosse police say the woman was hiking on the front of the bluff on an unauthorized trail when she fell 40-50 feet and then tumbled another 40-50 feet. 

"We brought paramedics up from the bottom and packaged her and brought her down with what we call a 'slope evac,'" Devine said. "It's a rope rescue system used to lower someone down the bluff."

Devine said the terrain was difficult to deal with and it was very steep.

"Lots of loose rocks, trees down. It was an extensive operation. It was probably one of the harder rescues we've done on the bluff," Devine said.

The woman was transported with non-life-threatening injuries to a local hospital.

La Crosse police say they were in constant contact with her and if she didn't have her cell phone, they think it would have been a fatality because they wouldn't have known where she was. 

"As a reminder to our residents and students coming back in, the bluff is a beautiful spot," said La Crosse Police Sgt. Randy Rank. "It's fenced (which) tells you where you can and cannot go and there's a reason for that because it's such a dangerous location."

Police cited the woman for trespassing in an unauthorized area of the bluff. The fine is $303.

Devine said the technical rescue team gets called to the bluff to help an injured individual about 2-3 times per year. 

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