Woman Rescued After Falling Halfway Down Lake Superior Cliff
The Michigan DNR reports that a Michigan woman was saved while grasping onto tree roots last week after falling halfway down a 70-foot cliff over a frozen portion of Lake Superior.
Michigan Conservation Officers David Miller and Kyle McQueer saved the Baraga County woman on Thursday, May 3.
The incident began at about 8:35 p.m. with a call to Central Dispatch in Negaunee Township from the 25-year-old L’Anse woman saying she was stuck on the edge of a cliff overlooking Lake Superior.
She told a dispatcher she was holding on to tree roots and she wasn’t exactly sure of her location. Miller and McQueer responded to the area to assist Michigan State Police troopers with the search.
Troopers said the woman’s phone signal was showing her location to be about 700 feet north of Haanpaa Road, which is not far outside the Village of L’Anse, to the north.
“Just as we passed Hannapaa road, we were flagged down by an individual who could hear someone hollering for help from somewhere down the cliff,” Miller said.
The two conservation officers located the woman part way down the face of the 70-foot cliff. They worked their way down toward her. McQueer stayed above the woman while Miller continued down until he reached her and could hold her in place.
“She told me she had Huntington’s disease, and had very-little-to-no strength in her arms and legs,” Miller said. “She had been holding onto tree roots to keep her from falling the rest of the way down the cliff and onto the ice below.”
Huntington’s disease is a rare hereditary condition in which the brain’s nerve cells break down gradually, affecting physical movements, cognitive abilities and emotions.
Miller asked McQueer to go back to the vehicle and get a tow strap or a rope. He returned with a tow strap and tied it to a tree, tossing the other end down to Miller.
The woman held onto the strap while Miller lifted her to a safer place on the cliff face.
Officers from other departments had begun arriving at the scene, including a state police trooper and officers from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and Baraga police departments.
McQueer and a Keweenaw Bay officer tied the tow strap around the woman.
“Once she was secure, all of the officers pulled her to safety,” Miller said.
The woman was taken to her mother. She did not seek any medical attention.
Miller said the woman told him she wanted to go to visit a friend. While walking, she wanted to go down to the lake. She put her leg over a guard rail and moved toward the lake. She lost her footing and started falling down the side of the cliff.
The name of the woman was not released.