GLACE BAY — The Glace Bay Volunteer Fire Department rappelled over a cliff in the Hub area of New Aberdeen late Friday evening to rescue a young girl who had slipped and fell.
The girl, believed to be 17, was walking along the cliff after she had left a teen dance at nearby Ring 73 with a 16-year-old boy when she fell over the icy embankment at the end of Sixth Street to the rocky shore more than 60 feet below.
"Her and a friend wandered away and I think she sort of lost her direction," said Jim Taylor, chief of the Glace Bay Volunteer Fire Department.
"For some reason she ended up over the bank. It is very icy and there's a lot of snow on the ground, especially as you get to the bank edge."
Reports early Saturday morning were that the fall victim had suffered serious, but non-life-threatening injuries, including a broken leg. She was initially transported to a local hospital and then airlifted to Halifax for treatment.
"She was a little bit conscious — in and out — when we got to her," Taylor said. "She was somewhat hypothermic, so I don't think she felt a whole lot of pain, and there was shock, of course."
He said the rescue crew was called to the scene at about 9:50 p.m. and remained there for about 90 minutes, including set-up, rescue and the time it took to put their gear away.
"We deployed a rappelling team over the cliff and we used our two ladder trucks — one for lighting and one to raise the stretcher back up topside."
Despite the quick rescue, he said it was tricky working on a cold night in slippery conditions.
"It's a little tough, but at the fire department we are well equipped with lighting and equipment that we need, so it wasn't too big of a task. We've done this many times, so even if you can't see some of it you know what you have to do and the applications you have to try."
It was the second time in recent months that the Glace Bay firefighters had to put their cliff rescue training to use.
In late December, a 50-year-old Howie Centre man suffered minor injuries after slipping on ice and falling down a cliff on nearby Thirteenth Street.
Two firefighters rappelled down the cliff with a basket to rescue the man, while about 25 people, including firefighters, police, paramedics and civilians, created a pulley system to lift the man from the shoreline.
The Glace Bay department performed Friday's rescue unassisted.
However, EHS paramedics treated her at the top of the cliff before transporting her to hospital.
Cape Breton Regional Police are investigating the incident.