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CAMDEN, Maine — A woman who was descending from rock cliffs on the west side of Mount Megunticook, an area of Camden Hills State Park known as Maiden Cliff , fell Tuesday afternoon. Her hiking companions said they believed she did not sustain life-threatening injuries, though they estimated she fell as far as 65 feet.
Maria Millard, 28, who recently moved to Belfast from Orono, was doing what is known as technical climbing, using ropes and anchor gear, along with friends Sigrid Coffin, John Cronin and Ryan Howes, all of Belfast. Speaking just after an ambulance took Millard to Penobscot Bay Medical Center in Rockport, the three friends said they believed she hurt her limbs, but did not appear to sustain a head injury.
Millard was wearing a helmet, her friends said.
Reviewing what happened, the three recalled Millard saying she was preparing to rappel off the rock face. Moments before, they recalled her saying, “I’m off belay. I’m safe,” which means she no longer needed assistance from her fellow climbers.
Millard was leading the descent, they said. The three were unsure of what went wrong.
The group was about a quarter of a mile up the cliff, said Dan Greeley of Belfast, a friend who responded to the scene to help carry Millard out.
Julie Libby of Camden First Aid, which assisted at the scene, said she believes Millard landed on her shoulder on small rocks and hard-packed soil.
“It seemed like the brunt of it was on her shoulder and the side of her face,” she said.
Cronin said he thinks Millard may have lost consciousness for about 30 seconds, but Libby said the woman was conscious during the half-hour it took to lower her down the mountain and she was speaking coherently, suggesting she did not sustain serious head injury.
Libby said Camden First Aid has a Technical Rescue Team that specializes in bringing people out after falls from Maiden Cliff, a popular rock climbing location. “They’re all climbers,” she said of the volunteers who turn out to such emergencies.