New York State Forest Rangers responded to multiple reports of subjects stranded during high waters created by flash flooding in Hamlet of Haines Falls, town of Hunter in Greene County in the Catskills last week.
On July 25 at 2:52 pm, Forest Ranger Peterson responded to Kaaterskill Falls where one subject was stranded below the lower falls. The two cascades total 260 feet in height, making Kaaterskill Falls one of the highest waterfalls in New York, and one of the Eastern United States’ tallest waterfalls.
The water was approximately four feet deep and rushing quickly. Ranger Peterson tied a rope to a tree, waded through the creek, and then helped carry the subject across the water to safety.
Ranger Peterson then headed to Fawn’s Leap off Route 23A where seven subjects were stranded on the side of the Kaaterskill Creek. Forest Rangers Dawson and Fox worked with the Twin Cloves Technical Rescue Team to set up a high angle rope rescue system to pull two subjects to safety.
Rangers Ellis, Horn, and Jackson then worked with New York State Police, Greene County Sheriff’s Office, Hunter Police, and Kingston and Tannersville fire departments to set up a swift water rescue system with an inflatable boat.
One by one, each of the five subjects was helped across the creek in the boat. No one was injured and the rescues were complete about four hours after they had begun.
Rangers Dawson and Peterson explain what is was like to perform these rescues in a video available on DEC’s YouTube page.
The next day, on Wednesday, July 26 at about 5 pm, Forest Rangers Peterson returned to Fawn’s Leap with Ranger Dawson for a subject with an unstable lower leg injury. The subject fell while climbing a section of the cliff and fell approximately 20 feet onto a streambed rock.
Rangers worked with the Twin Cloves Technical Rescue Team to pull the 28-year-old from Long Island to safety using a low angle rope system.
Greene County Paramedics treated the significant ankle and arm injuries and requested a helicopter. At 6:15 pm, the patient was taken by Hunter Ambulance to a staging area before being flown to the hospital.
Also, on Saturday, July 29 at 3:20 pm, Assistant Forest Ranger (AFR) Staffa found an 18-year-old from New York City who had fallen on the Upper Falls Trail at Kaaterskill Falls while hiking with her family.
AFR Staffa provided first aid and contacted Forest Ranger Dawson. AFR Staffa helped the subject down the trail to Ranger Dawson’s truck. Ranger Dawson drove the subject to the Scutt Road trailhead and provided further medical care before the teen’s family met them at the trailhead.
The family advised they would seek further medical attention on their own.
DEC encourages visitors to Fawn’s Leap to avoid climbing the rocks there, especially without proper climbing gear. In addition, recent flash flooding serve as a reminder to outdoor adventurers to check the forecast before heading out.
Read past Forest Ranger search and rescue reports here.
Photos, provided by DEC: Fawn’s Leap rescue from inside crevice; and five stranded people at Fawn’s Leap awaiting rescue.