GARRETSON, S.D. (KELO) — A hike at Palisades State Park quickly turned into a race to save a life. Late Sunday afternoon, crews were called to the park after a visitor fell nearly 30 feet and landed on a cliff.
Maryah Tople was able to get to her friend and kept her from falling even further.
“I’m just really glad that there was people here able to really look out for her and make sure that she was safe, and thankfully we at least were able to respond a little faster than the fire department could because of where we were at,” she said.
Officials estimate the victim fell about 30 feet, landing on a ledge that was still about 60 feet from the ground.
“The only thing going through my head was don’t let her fall, don’t let her lose consciousness, like we were sitting there kind of cracking jokes, just trying to make her stay alert, stay aware, because she was slipping in and out the entire time,” Tople said.
“It was very very scary because it was taking awhile for the rescue people to show up and I was fearful that they both were gonna fall,” witness Terri Garcia said. “You know, that was my fear, like oh my God, they’re both gonna fall. Someone needs to get here and get here now.”
Officials say accidents happen here every year, but Sunday’s was the first of 2021. They stress the importance of safety while enjoying the park.
“It’s especially important to stay back from the edges of these cliffs,” Minnehaha Sheriff patrol captain Adam Zishka said. “They’re beautiful, but they need to be respected also. A fall from that height, we’ve seen catastrophic results.”
The victim was brought to safety and given medical attention. KELOLAND News has learned that the victim is out of the hospital and is doing well.