by: Ken Lemon Updated:
GASTONIA, N.C. - A climber fell about 70 feet and died from serious injuries at Crowders Mountain State Park Monday, officials with the Gastonia Fire Department said.
Rescue personnel from the Gastonia Fire Department and paramedics from Gaston Emergency Medical Services responded to a fallen climber call at 6:25 p.m.
Upon arrival, personnel ascended the mountain and found the patient near a backside trail.
Gastonia Fire Department rope technicians lowered themselves to the patient, clipped the patient into rescue ropes and carefully lowered the patient down to safe ground.
Paramedics immediately administered critical care to the patient as they were being taken down the mountain.
Despite the efforts of all personnel involved, the patient died at the scene.
Eyewitness News talked with witnesses who called for help.
The hikers were on a trail and said they spoke with the man just seconds before he fell.
He said it would be great to have someone to climb with him.
"We were in total shock,” said Garrett Robinson who saw the man scaling one of the practice walls on the backside trail of Crowder's Mountain.
Robinson said the man joked with them about having to hike alone.
"We were just looking at him and then all of sudden he lost his grip and fell backwards and his harness did not catch him," he said.
The rope stopped him about 15 feet from the ground.
"He kept saying, 'I can't breathe. I can't breathe,’ so I didn't know what to do," said Claudia Cardona, a witness.
She tried to scale the wall to get him but her friends stopped her.
"I wouldn't let her climb up there and endanger herself," Robinson said.
They called 911 and watched rescuers arrive to the remote area.
Chris Stowe with the Gastonia Fire Department said, "We want to recommend if you do come climbing, always climb in pairs, even three, four, five people or more.”
No other injuries were reported by the approximately 20 personnel who worked the scene.
Channel 9 will have updated information on the climber today at 5 p.m.