HINCKLEY TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- A Brunswick man was in fair condition at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland Monday after a 30 foot fall from a rock ledge in Hinckley Township.
The fall victim, James R. Donaldson, 32, fell from a rock ledge about three stories high, suffering severe head injuries.
Rescuers were summoned to Whipps Ledges in the Metroparks after 7 p.m. Sunday for their second rescue there of the weekend.
Hinckley Township Fire Chief Timothy Potts says rescuers had just returned from another call involving a visitor who injured their leg two hours earlier.
Potts says his department normally responds to about 10 rescue calls to the ledges every year. They have already had three calls in just the past two weeks.
Last week rescuers were called to the park to help someone who became stranded on a 'rock island', which turned into a two hour effort.
"Whipps Ledges in the Hinckley Parks Reservation is not only a beautiful place to visit, but it also comes with some significant hazards," said Potts. "Individuals come down here and don't realize that with the loose rock structures that are here that have been here for centuries, they can step on a rock that appears stable to them and it will fail under theur weight," he continued.
Potts says he knows people are anxious to get outdoors because of the beautiful weather, but he cautions that people need to be careful too.
"The falls here present a significant hazard because most of them are 30 feet in height and the rock structure is throughout the entire area so they are not hitting anything soft. These are rock structures so when they fall from a rock ledge they are falling onto other rocks.
Getting to a victim is also dangerous. Potts says the same conditions that often lead to someone falling and injuring themselves presents a hazard for the rescuers as well.
The Metroparks require climbers to have a permit and the proper equipment.
"To have the experience, obviously, and the knowledge those types of people can do it safely versus somebody who has never done it and is just trying it, those people can risk serious injury," said Metroparks Ranger Lt. Mark Hayner.
"The rock climbers that free climb they are very experienced at it, and the rappelling is done with a rope and we have also found people who will free climb and then they end up getting stuck because they lack one important piece of equipment, a rope," added Hayner.
"We want people to visit this area, its a beautiful part of the Metroparks," said Potts, who concluded "what we also want them to do is to be cautious when they visit this area."