Crews detail cliff rescue in local park

Photo: Freetown Police Department

ASSONET, Mass. (WPRI) — Crews who rescued a young woman who fell off a cliff at Freetown-Fall River State Forest Tuesday say she’s a very, very lucky woman.

Hailey Meiggs, the 20-year-old victim from Berkley, was hiking near a long-abandoned granite quarry called “The Ledge,” around 1 p.m. Tuesday, when she fell.

“She landed on an outcrop of the rocks,” District Chief Roger St. Martin of the Fall River Fire Department said.

A friend hiking with Meiggs was able to call rescuers, but when they arrived, they found an immediate problem. Rescuers could easily rappel down the rock face to her, but getting the woman back up was risky.

“We had to set up several anchors up top and we lowered two rescuers down,” explained Captain Shawn Simmons of the Norton Fire Department.

Rescuers soon found a solution and ended up strapping her in, and lowered her down another 15 or 20 feet to a boat waiting below.

“It was an hour and a half from the time of the call, to the time the guys got mobilized, to the time the victim was safe. It was pretty good,” Chief St. Martin said.

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Captain Shawn Simmons said this type of accident has actually happened at this site before.

“Ironically, we’ve actually done training in this location before which was really beneficial because we’ve actually seen this site previously,” Simmons said.

Local and state environmental police are still investigating the cause of the accident.

The woman broke her ankle and had some other minor injuries. She was taken to Rhode Island Hospital after fall and is expected to be okay.

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