amden firefighters of the High Angle Mountain Rescue Unit saved a climber, Brian Bateman, 22, who had fallen down a cliff at Sleeping Giant Park on Wednesday, Sept. 12. Life Star and state police helicopters were also at the scene.
“The rescue operation began just before 10 p.m. and lasted for approximately two hours,” said Battalion Chief Paul Wetmore of the Hamden fire department’s Rescue Unit. As a result of Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington D.C., Life Star was put on hold until they got clearence from the Federal Aviation Administration to take off. Despite this obstacle, the transport of the helicopter was not delayed.
“The state police helicopter, Trooper One, hovered over the scene and provided floodlights to aid the rescue operation,” said Wetmore.
According to the New Haven Register, emergency 911 dispatchers were overwhelmed with phone calls during the operation because local residents were concerned when they heard helicopters flying overhead. Lieutenant Bill Fitzmaurice, of the Hamden Fire Department, said that they were concerned about their public safety following the tragic events from Tuesday’s incident.
“The climber was hiking with two friends when he was estimated to have fallen approxiamtely 60 feet,” said Wetmore. According to the New Haven register, he was airlifted off the “chin” area of the mountain and taken to the Yale-New Haven Hospital. Bateman was said to have sustained multi-system trauma and he is currently listed in critical condition. He had head and chest injuries, as well as a broken leg.
After Bateman’s fall, his other two companions did not have any way to contact help. That was when one friend ran down to the base of the mountain to gain access to a phone.
Wetmore described the “chin” of the mountain as being a typical spot for climbers to be. However, as much as this part of the mountain is inviting, it is also dangerous.
“It was obvious that Bateman and his friends underestimated the terrain and overestimated their ability,” said Wetmore.
Sleeping Giant State Park has become one of the most populated places in Hamden. Residents, local students, and even visitors want to be apart of the great outdoors. This accident was not the first to occur on Sleeping Giant. Recoveries and rescues were performed on numerous occasions.