Emergency personnel rescued a man who fell from the bluff in the area of McBride Avenue and Falling Springs Road near Dupo late Monday night.
The call went out about 10:40 p.m., after a man who was walking with two others apparently slipped and fell 30-40 feet from the top of the bluff to a small trail below.
The Prairie du Pont Fire Department was assisted by the Dupo Fire Department and Columbia Fire Department in a high-angle rescue from the side of the bluff. Other agencies responding to the scene included Dupo and East Carondelet police, the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, MedStar EMS and ARCH Air Medical Services helicopter.
A responding fire official said the man landed feet first and sustained severe injuries to both of his lower legs. From the ground, the patient was approximately 400 yards up the side of the bluff. Because of the rough and very steep terrain, firefighters and medical personnel were forced to climb the side of the bluff – sometimes on their hands and knees through heavy brush, sharp angles and loose rocks while carrying equipment – to reach the patient.
Once the first crews reached the top, the patient’s injuries were assessed and splinted as best they could be. He was then loaded into a Stokes basket and it was attached to a rope to assist in sliding it down the path.
Columbia firefighters cut a path through the brush to gain better egress, after which the tedious task of lowering the patient down began. Multiple firefighters maintained contact with the stretcher and as it moved downward, they slid on their hands and knees on both sides while encountering vines, brush and rocks to get the basket to a semi-level, semi-cleared location where fresh personnel then carried it to a waiting ambulance.
Although ARCH helicopter had landed once the patient was extricated, the weather had worsened and the decision was made to transport the man to a St. Louis hospital by ambulance.