Coast Guard rescues girl after fall from cliff

Photo of rescue

Rescue crews work to bring a Gwinn teen into a U.S. Coast Guard boat Tuesday afternoon at Presque Isle Park. The 17-year-old fell from a place along the cliffs 70 feet or higher, according to police. (Photo by John Pepin courtesy of the Mining Journal)

A U.S. Coast Guard boatcrew from Station Marquette, Mich., worked alongside the Marquette City Fire Department to rescue a teenager who fell roughly 75 feet off a cliff and landed on rocks at Presque Isle Point in Marquette, Mich., Tuesday.

Two Marquette City firefighters were rappelling down the cliff to the 17-year-old Gwinn, Mich., girl when the boatcrew arrived. One of the Coast Guardsmen, Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Connolly, got off the boat, waded through about two feet of water and climbed onto the rocks where the girl was lying at the same time the two firefighters reached her. She was conscious but extremely disoriented and indicated she couldn’t feel her extremities. Connolly worked with the firefighters to stabilize the girl’s neck.

“When I first got there, I was shocked she survived that fall,” said Connolly.

Connolly, two other Coast Guardsmen and an EMT carried the girl on a rescue stretcher through the water and put her on the Coast Guard boat. The boatcrew took her to Presque Isle Marina where additional EMTs were waiting. She was taken by ambulance to Marquette General Hospital.

Initially when dispatchers reported the incident, they said she had fallen from a popular cliff-jumping spot.

Connolly said right from the start, he didn’t think that was the right spot because the drop there is only about 10-20 feet. But the boatcrew members’ knowledge of the area allowed them to locate her relatively quickly.