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Two wheelchairs go over cliff along Bille Park trail

PARADISE -- Rescue personnel spent two hours Sunday rescuing a quadriplegic women after she took a 75-to-80 feet fall off a cliff alongside a park trail.

Tera Holst, a quadriplegic, and Miles Eckert, a paraplegic, were in electric wheelchairs or scooters on a trail in Bille Park when both fell off the path. The trail slopes towards the cliff and was marked with signs "use at your own risk."

Eckert said he fell first off the trail and Holst, who was behind him several feet, got excited and apparently lost control. He said her heard her "hollering" and turned around and she was falling down the slope.

Holst traveled 75-to-80 feet down what was estimated at a 80 percent slope, landing in bay trees and poison oak.

Eckert had fallen about 25 to 30 feet and crawled down the hill towards Holst before hearing someone on the trail, who was able to call for help at 2:42 p.m.

Residents walking in the park said the cliff became steeper right after the place Holst stopped.



Four engines, three rescue squads, two medic units, three fire chief officers, three Paradise police officers, two helicopters and six Butte County Search and Rescue personnel responded to the incident.

The rescuers made a path down the slope and rigged a rope system around trees to use leverage to bring up Holst. Greg McFadden, a battalion chief with Cal Fire-Butte County, said the low-angle rope system used mechanical advantage. Rescuers attached ropes to Holst, who was with emergency medical personnel, and used the leverage so that with every 100 pounds of pull they used, they were able to lift 300 pounds, he said.

Robert Duncan, the division chief for Paradise Fire, said the rescue was an interagency response. He said the designated personnel on the Butte County Interagency Rescue Team had advanced training and meet monthly to practice for situations similar to Sunday's.



Robert Biggs, who was walking in the park, went down the slope and waited with Holst before medical personnel arrived.

Biggs said she seemed to be in good spirits but likely had several fractures and what appeared to be a twisted arm. He said since she was a quadriplegic she was unable to feel the pain from her injuries.

Holst was taken to Enloe Medical Center in Chico with unknown injuries, according to a news release.

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