FREETOWN, Mass. (WPRI) ─ An East Wareham man suffered life-threatening injuries while cliff jumping at Freetown State Forest Sunday afternoon.
The 19-year-old was jumping off of a rock ledge and into the water with friends at the time. His friends became concerned when he did not resurface.
Freetown Fire Lieutenant Keith Mello said the ledge is an 80-foot drop and is a common spot where people, especially young adults and teens, usually go cliff jumping.
“Kids do go back there a lot and jump in, but they jump in from a different spot that’s a little lower,” Mello said. “It’s a very dangerous spot though. We go to a call there every year – once a year for something serious like this.”
Mello said when he arrived on scene, bystanders had already pulled the man from the water and were performing CPR.
The man was unconscious, but Mello said he was breathing and had a weak pulse.
Mello said he knew that time was of the essence, so he immediately called for a Med Flight.
“The key was calling for a Med Flight because we want to get them to the hospital within an hour of the accident, and due to where we were in the woods, we needed to expedite that,” Mello said.
Mello and six other first responders carried the man one mile out of the woods to where the Med Flight was waiting. He was rushed to Rhode Island Hospital with injuries Mello said were “severe and critical.”
Since the water is deep in that area, Mello said the man’s injuries likely came from the impact of hitting the water. The man’s current condition is unknown at this time.
Mello praised the bystanders who were able to pull the man from the water. He said without them, they would’ve needed a rescue team to get to him.
“Without the bystanders, it would have been extremely difficult, just because the response time to the hospital from that part in the woods would exceed the hour,” Mello explained. “It’s crucial to get anybody with serious trauma to surgery within an hour – that gives them the best survival.”
Mello said it’s not safe for people to go cliff jumping, especially at this specific ledge.