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  • Appalachian Trail hiker dies after fall from Annapolis Rock - Herald-Mail Media

    Posted: Sunday, October 11, 2015 12:40 pm | Updated: 6:10 pm, Sun Oct 11, 2015
    Julie E. Greene

    An Appalachian Trail hiker from the United Kingdom died Sunday morning after falling off of Annapolis Rock, officials said.
    "He was photographing the Annapolis Rock area, jumping from rock to rock, when he lost his balance and fell," said Lt. Art Windemuth, a spokesman for Maryland Natural Resources Police.
    Windemuth said resources police told him the 44-year-old man fell about 35 feet, however, Washington County Special Operations Chief John Bentley said the man fell approximately 45 feet.

    The man's name was not released because next-of-kin had not been notified as of Sunday afternoon, Windemuth said.

    The man was hiking alone, Windemuth said.

    Annapolis Rock is a popular spot and hiking destination along the Maryland portion of the Appalachian Trail, near the Washington County-Frederick County line, and is known for its scenic view of the valley.

    Its difficulty is listed as "moderate" and it is a distance of 2.2 miles from the U.S. 40 access point, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website.

    More than 30 rescuers, including firefighters and emergency medical personnel from Washington and Frederick counties, were involved in an effort to try to rescue the man before the man was pronounced dead, officials said.

    The Annapolis Rock incident initially was reported to Washington County 911 at 10:50 a.m., according to Washington County Emergency Services.

    Emergency crews were preparing to leave the access point, a long private driveway near U.S. 40 and just east of the Washington County-Frederick County line, on Sunday at about 4:30 p.m.

    For rescuers, the Annapolis Rock area can be difficult to access because the trail is not always suitable for all-terrain vehicles, said Terry Stouffer, fire chief for the Mount Aetna Volunteer Fire Department. Gators, a type of all-terrain vehicle, had to occasionally leave the trail to get emergency crews and equipment to the scene.

    A Maryland State Police helicopter helped ground rescuers find the specific spot of the fall victim by providing GPS coordinates, Stouffer said.

    Emergency workers had to wait for police to get to Annapolis Rock to conduct an investigation before the victim could be retrieved from the cliff base and brought down the mountain, officials said.

    Rope rescue personnel from Washington County Special Operations, Frederick County Technical Rescue Team and the Myersville (Md.) fire department retrieved the victim from the base of the cliff, Bentley said. That portion of the operation took about 45 minutes to an hour, before the man could be brought down the mountain.

    Another hiker on the trail had some medical concerns, but refused to be taken to a hospital, Stouffer said.

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