Dec. 21--ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP -- A bit of luck and the hard work of the Ashtabula Township Fire Department saved an 18-year-old Ashtabula man from serious injury or possible death Friday afternoon.
Kenny Wiker said he was out for a hike on Indian Trails and climbed to an overlook that can be seen from West 58th Street behind Chestnut Grove Cemetery. He said he stopped to check out the beautiful view and slipped from the edge of a cliff and started to slide toward the Ashtabula River below.
"I was then able to grab a pine tree," Wiker said after falling an estimated 10 to 15 feet down a bank of mud and stones at a very steep angle.
Wiker estimated he was stuck on the cliff for about 30 minutes. He was able to call the fire department who climbed up the side of an adjacent wooded area and dropped a rope to him from a parking area at Indian Trails Park.
Representatives of the Ashtabula Township Fire Department said it was a very dangerous situation and he was fortunate to have caught the tree.
Capt. Eric Scott, of the Ashtabula Township Fire Department, said he faced another 30 to 40 foot slide down the steep cliff. "He would have fallen all the way down. He was hanging by a thread," Scott said.
Scott said people should not get too close to precarious cliffs or wear improper hiking attire in rainy, muddy terrain.
"Wear the proper shoes. He was in tennis shoes. It's slippery," he said.
Scott said firefighters tossed him the rope and in about 10 minutes were able to pull him to safety.
Wiker was not injured during the fall and signed off on medical treatment, but was given a ride to his home, Scott said.
Four members of the Ashtabula Township Fire Department responded to the call. The Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Ashtabula County Sheriff's Department responded to the scene.
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