Dramatic rope rescue as IFD team saves 12-year-old boy after a fall in Lansing

July 21, 2014 by Rachel Cera

A 12-year-old boy who fell partway down a 300-foot cliff in Lansing was rescued Monday afternoon by the Ithaca Fire Department rope rescue team. It was the second time in less than a week the rope squad was called to assist the victim of a fall.

The boy had slipped at the edge of a cliff near the Cargill salt plant, caught himself on a root protruding from the cliff face, and was able to use his cell phone to call 911 for help. Tompkins County 911 dispatchers sent the Lansing Fire Department, who called in IFD's rope rescue team to assist.

IFD crews rappelled down the cliff face to look for the boy, who couldn't been seen from the top, and Lt. George Apgar was able to rappel down to his location and secure the boy to a harness. The two continued down the cliff to the train tracks below, where rescuers waited.

An IFD release says the boy was shaken up, but sustained only minor injuries. After the rescue, which took about two hours in total, the boy was transported to Cayuga Medical Center by Bangs Ambulance.

Just last week, the Ithaca rope rescue team came to the assistance of a Danby man who fell into a gorge behind his home.

Ithaca and Lansing authorities say rock climbing is "extremely dangerous in our area, due to the geography of loose rock and shale, and should not be done." The freezing and thawing cycles of winter can also make once-solid areas unstable and dangerous. IFD Lt. Thomas T. Basher Jr. suggests hikers should stay in safe, open areas and explore with a partner, always know where they are, and carry a cell phone in case of emergency.

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