PORTLAND – A man in his 30s is in critical condition after officials say he fell between 60 and 70 feet into the waters of an abandoned quarry at the Quarry Ridge Golf Course Sunday evening.
Emergency workers were called at about 7:20 p.m. about an individual who had fallen into the quarry off of the course’s 18th green, according to Portland Fire Chief Bob Shea. The man, who was alone at the time of the accident, was golfing with a friend. The victim was searching for a golf ball quite a distance from the fairway and fell off a cliff, and his friend then tried to help him, officials said.
He was found unconscious and unresponsive in 100-feet-deep water, Shea said.
“He walked off quite a distance from the fairway — 300 to 400 feet,” Shea explained, adding that he suspects the victim may live out of town and was unfamiliar with the course.
The man walked through a fenced-off area posted with no- trespassing and warning signs. He eventually made his way through woods filled with dense brush, officials said.
Middletown’s technical rescue team was called in within seven minutes to assist as Portland’s low-angle rescue team arrived at the scene within moments to assist with a high-angle rescue at a 45- degree angle outcrop, the chief explained. His men were forced to work in a very small area that fits between two and three people, he said.
Middletown crews safely lowered two members of their team down a sheer cliff to assess the patient, who was deemed in critical condition, according to fire officials.
The man was “packaged, harnessed and raised up from the base of the cliff with a basket lift,” Shea said. The rescue effort took three hours.
“I have no idea how his friend got down to the man, but he must have slid down,” Shea said.
The friend, who was on the outer rocks of the flat-sided quarry, “had removed him from the water by the time we got there,” Shea said.
Dangerous conditions made the operation a difficult one.
“We had other options that did not prove to be safe to our personnel,” Shea said.
The quarry waters are low, Shea explained, due to lack of rain.
“Otherwise it would have been a tub with straight sides,” making the process even more dangerous. “It’s usually pretty full. You can slip pretty easily.”
A Life Star helicopter was summoned immediately, officials said.
“We were concerned about its ability to fly,” the chief said. “The winds were very high, but they were able to land on the 18th fairway.”
The helicopter was on scene within eight to 10 minutes from the time of the call, the chief said.
Middlesex Hospital paramedics airlifted the man to St. Francis Hospital, where he remained Monday afternoon.