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Hiker Falls 100 Feet

Cambridge, Vermont - May 13, 2005

Four Middlebury College students were celebrating the end of their sophomore year with a hike on Mount Mansfield. But the celebration quickly turned to terror.

"That was pretty scary. We couldn't see whether he was ok or whether he was even still there," said Lauren Nazarian.

Nazarian's friend Andrew Haile, 20, fell nearly 100 feet down a ravine on Smuggler's Notch.

"He was conscious but very disoriented and bleeding. We tried to get him to walk out but it would just be too dangerous," she explained.

Nazarian and another hiker climbed down the mountain to call for help while another stayed with Haile.

A team of 15 rescuers specially trained for hazardous terrain spent more than seven hours working to bring Haile to safety.

"This part of Smugglers Notch is notorious for this type of incident," explained Neil Van Dyke of Stowe Mountain Rescue. "It's very deceptive because you can walk up relatively easily and the terrain slowly gets more and more difficult."

Van Dyke says steep gullies and unstable ledges make this area extremely difficult for a hike and a rescue.

"Our biggest concern is getting everyone down safely, not just the patient but the rescuers as well. When you're dealing with unstable terrain like this, it's a challenge. We take our time, do things slowly, one step at a time, and people will be roped up so if they fall they won't fall very far."

"We just thought it would be a fun relaxing thing to do to have on a Friday afternoon, but it was more of an adventure than we thought," said Nazarian.

Late Friday night, Haile was able to walk down the mountain with rescuers. He was reportedly being treated at a local hospital.

Kate Duffy - Channel 3 News

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