Poestenkill Gorge becomes a rescue scene again | News
TROY - A Rensselaer County man remained at Albany Medical Center Thursday night after a horrifying 45-foot fall from a slippery cliff into Troy's Poestenkill Gorge late Thursday afternoon.
The victim, identified by police as 21-year old Brian Mahoney, along with three friends weren't even supposed to be swimming at the gorge. After a string of serious incidents, and after several taxpayers-funded rescues, the city posted the property and made it "off limits" to swimmers more than a decade ago.
On a perfect late May afternoon, it's difficult for some people to resist the temptation of the Poestenkill Gorge. Unfortunately, for some people, they have to learn about its inherent dangers the hard way.
"I was sitting on the rocks and I looked up and he said he was going to jump," said Jacob Smith, who was at the gorge with friends when he witnessed Mahoney's chilling fall. "All I heard was a "clap" and I looked over and people were running to him. He was bleeding. I went over there and his wrist was cut. He was in convulsions. He was shaking. He was crying a little bit."
It took nearly two dozen rescue workers to stabilize Mahoney and then, using a series of ropes and pulleys, to carry the stretcher up a steep, narrow, and slippery path of loose shale rock.
"We come at least once or twice a year but these guys did a heck of a job," said Troy Fire Chief Tom Garrett. "All the credit goes to (our firefighters). They hiked in there, they had to carry this kid out and it was no easy task."
"People are responsible for their actions and unfortunately they didn't adhere to what the signs and postings were and they paid an unfortunate price for it," said Troy Mayor Lou Rosamilia.
Despite the mayor's words, the only posting we News Channel 13 was able to find at the gorge was one ripped and unreadable sign.
After police and fire crews cleared out, people were once again at the gorge and in the water.
"I jumped off this cliff before, a while ago," said Bobby Dayton. "When you jump you have to go past that bridge because if you don't you're going to hit rock."
"All you have do do is fall once and you could be dead," said Jacob Smith. "That's why I don't jump off that (cliff). I swim, yes, I swim, but you will never see me on top of that cliff."
Brian Mahoney remained at Albany Medical Center Thursday night. His condition was unavailable.
Ordinarily, Troy Police issue tickets for anyone caught swimming in the Poestenkill Gorge, but police say they couldn't write any tickets on Thursday because most of the signs have either been defaced or torn down.
A city official says they'll be out Friday morning to re-post warning signs.