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Stay Out! Stay Alive!
Stay Out! Stay Alive!
Near Misses
Incidents that could have resulted in a fatality, but did not.

August 20, 2009
Woman Rescued From Quarry

A 23-year-old Rockport woman was taken to Brigham and Women's Hospital by an emergency medical flight early yesterday morning after she fell some 15 feet onto a rock ledge at the Steel Derrick quarry.

Police received word of the incident at 1:30 a.m. from a 911 call placed by one of several people who were with the woman at the popular swimming hole. The woman was said to have back and pelvic injuries, but fire officials said she was conscious when emergency crews arrived. She was found on a ledge submerged in about 2 feet of water, police said.

The Fire Department sent two vehicles to the quarry, which is in a wooded area surrounded by abandoned farms and old walking paths at the end of Rowe Avenue.

One apparatus provided lighting while another employed rescue equipment to carefully place the woman into a Stokes basket and move her from the ledge to an ambulance. The ambulance transported her to an awaiting medical helicopter at Rockport High School's soccer field.

"Due to the height from which she fell and the way she landed, protocol dictates she needed to be thoroughly checked out and the best place for that was in Boston," Fire Chief Russell Anderson said yesterday. "Her injuries didn't appear to be life-threatening, but sometimes internal injuries are not obvious."

The Steel Derrick is a "popular spot," Patrolman William Budrow said, "especially when it's hot."

Anderson said his department responds to at least one or two incidents each summer at the old quarry.

"Some of the paths come very, very close to the edge of the quarry," he said yesterday. "Even in daylight hours, it's not an easy place to walk."

Ambulance Department Head Rosemary Lesch said emergency responders have seen a variety of accidents involving people of all ages over the years' from bicycles, dirt bikes and hiking mishaps to swimming- and diving-related injuries.

Police Sgt. Timothy Frithsen said Steel Derrick has been the site of several drownings over the years involving people from out of town who were unfamiliar with the quarry.

The Steel Derrick is owned by the Pigeon Hill Quarry Association, which gives out passes allowing people to swim in the quarry. It was unclear if the woman had a pass, police said.

"People swim in the quarry at all hours of the day and night," Frithsen said. "We don't have the manpower to patrol the Steel Derrick with only two cars on the road at night, plus it's private property."

Source: Gloucester Daily Times