NEW SCOTLAND: Hikers survive 50-foot fall

One woman had to be rescued on Friday afternoon, May 11, after she and another woman fell an estimated 50 feet down a steep embankment at Thacher Park in New Scotland. Helen Claus, 23, was part of an eight-person party from Living Resources out for a day hike on the Indian Ladder Trail. The party consisted of six clients and two counselors, said Albany County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Craig Apple.

While Claus was walking, Apple said, she stumbled and ended up falling down the embankment, which he estimated was at a 70-degree angle.

It was steep, very steep, said Apple.

The second woman, 49-year-old Beth Maney, attempted to catch Claus and ended up sliding down the embankment as well. According to Apple, both women came to rest on a tree.

A heavy rainfall the night before left the trail muddy and slick, said Apple.

"There are some areas you can stumble on if you're not paying attention," he said.

Maney, a counselor with Living Resources, was able to get herself up the embankment on her own. Claus, who was wearing a leg brace, was not. The rest of the party sought help and emergency responders were able to stabilize and then pull Claus from the hill.

Responders included the sheriff's department search and rescue team, state police and local volunteer fire departments.

Claus complained of neck and back pain and was transported to Albany Medical Center for treatment. Maney was also transported to the hospital to be evaluated for an accelerated heart rate, said Apple.

Both women were released by Friday night, said Joan Meyer, a spokesperson for Living Resources.

"(Claus) is fine and she'll be back in the program this week," said Meyer. "Thank God."

The group was part of a day program that serves young adults with developmental disabilities, said Meyer.

Monday through Thursday the group does volunteer work in the community like Meals on Wheels, said Meyer, and on Fridays the group participates in fun activities in the community.""

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