It started as a simple rescue event at Glen Onoko Falls yesterday afternoon, but by the time it ended three hours later there were a total of three injuries.
The chain of events unfolded about 3 p.m. when it was reported a 19-year-old female needed rescue from the second falls. Glen Onoko, located in Jim Thorpe, is comprised of three falls at different altitudes.
The first report was that a female injured an ankle. Then, it was reported a second person was injured. Finally, a firefighter involved in the rescue reportedly injured an ankle.
The rescue involved personnel from four fire departments: Jim Thorpe, Lehighton, Nesquehoning and Penn Forest Township. At least two ambulances were involved in the transfer of the patients.
As the rescue was in operation a 19-year-old male, who was a member of the injured female's hiking party, also fell and was injured. He was reportedly hurt while trying to lead the female down the trail.
Later it was reported a young Lehighton fireman involved in the rescue was also injured.
All three were taken to area hospitals, two to the Lehighton hospital while it is believed the female was transported to the Lehigh Valley Trauma Center in Allentown.
The rescue was completed just after 6 p.m.
The hiking party, reportedly from Lincoln University in Chester County, was hiking with a church group from the King of Prussia area when the injuries happened.
It was the second rescue this month from Glen Onoko.
Also involved in the rescue were personnel, based at Hickory Run State Park, from the Pa. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Mike Ginsmore, assistant park manager, explained that Glen Onoko Falls is actually located on state game lands and is not part of the state park. He said park rangers are dispatched only because the game lands are adjacent to the state park and they assist rescue personnel in any way they can.
"We are not responsible for maintenance of the trails at the falls," said Ginsmore.
Carbon County Commissioner Wayne Nothstein, who is also a member of the Lehighton Fire Department, said he was not at the scene yesterday.
He said he contacted state Rep. Doyle Heffley last evening and asked him to introduce legislation that would allow fire departments and rescue squads to bill the appropriate parties for costs incurred in the rescue efforts.