Three dozen rescue workers and the crew of a Lifeflight helicopter that was forced to land on a mountain ledge spent more than five hours Saturday trying to save the life of a University of Maine student.
Despite their heroic efforts, 22-year-old Shirley Ladd of Barnstead, N.H., died from injuries she sustained after falling on a trail on Champlain Mountain in Acadia National Park.
“Our thoughts are with her family, friends and the many people on campus who knew and loved her, and whose lives she touched,” said Robert Dana, UMaine’s vice president for student affairs and dean of students, in a statement released Sunday to the university community. “As one of our student managers at the Fitness Center, she was well known for her outgoing personality and customer service. She was always ready with a smile. Shirley was a strong leader among her peers. She will be missed by so many in our community.”
A close friend said Ladd had travelled to Bar Harbor last weekend to visit her boyfriend, a recent university graduate.
Her boyfriend was at work when she decided to go hiking with another friend on the Precipice Trail, which leads to the summit of Champlain Mountain.
“Shirley was one of the most caring people I have ever met. And she was so much fun. She made work enjoyable,” said her friend, Kaci Stormann, who worked with Ladd at the New Balance Student Recreation Center.
Murray alerted the park service that Ladd had sustained severe injuries, which triggered a massive rescue effort.
Multiple agencies responded including all of Acadia’s on- and off-duty park rangers, members of the Bar Harbor Fire Department, Mount Desert Island Search and Rescue, a crew of medics from Lifeflight of Maine, and the privately owned Acadia Mountain Guides.
“It was one huge effort. The park rangers could not have done this by ourselves,” Rechholtz said.
The rescuers faced a number of physical obstacles.
The Precipice Trail, which is typically closed to protect peregrine falcon nesting sites, is extremely steep. It opened this summer for the first time in several years after the falcon nesting effort failed.
Champlain Mountain itself is just over 1,000 feet. Ladd had completed about three quarters of the trail when she fell, which forced rescue workers to do a lot of climbing before they could reach her.
Though the skies were clear and sunny, the humidity on Saturday was oppressive, rescue workers said.
|The Precipice - Deaths In Acadia National Park|