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November 02. 2013 8:11PM

Man who fell 25 feet at dam in Pittsfield found 7 hours later

PITTSFIELD - A man who fell over the Mill Pond Dam while trying to retrieve a dropped phone Friday night spent seven hours calling for help before rescuers found him, officials said.

Acting Fire Chief Nicholas Abell said the man, a resident of Barnstead believed to be in his mid-30s, told first responders he was taking a picture at the dam when he dropped his phone about 8 p.m.

He was climbing down to try to retrieve it when he slipped and fell 25 to 30 feet to a rocky ledge.

"Some neighbors finally at 3 a.m. heard his cries for help and went down to investigate," Abell said. "They found him at the bottom."

Members of the Pittsfield Fire Department made their way down to the injured man, who had traumatic injuries to his legs and "moderate" hypothermia, the chief said. But it was too treacherous for them to try to carry him back up.

"It was pretty icy and really steep," Abell said.

The Pittsfield rescuers called for help from Concord's fire department, which has the right training and equipment to do a "high-angle rescue," he said. Rescuers hooked up ropes to the bucket of a ladder truck and lowered a firefighter and Stokes basket to where the injured man lay.

Abell said it took about 90 minutes to get the man up to a waiting ambulance, which brought him to Concord Hospital.

Abell said the man was lucky someone heard his cries for help and went looking. "He was in a bad spot. If nobody heard him, he'd probably still be there," he said.

The chief said he could not provide the patient's identity or an update on his condition Saturday night.


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