86-year-old woman survives cliff fall

An 86-year-old woman’s day of yard work in a small US town turned out to be more physically demanding than expected, when she tumbled 30-feet off a cliff into a 100-foot deep ravine and clung onto a tree branch for dear life before being rescued.


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Published: Sat 20 Oct 2012, 4:03 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 1:21 PM

Beverly Blewett was raking leaves in her backyard in Newfane, New York around 1.30 p.m. Thursday when the ground beneath her gave out, sending her into a seemingly endless ravine, the Niagara Gazette reported.

While falling, Blewett was able to latch onto a tree and hold on for an hour, until her cries for help were finally heard by a neighbour, who called 911.

Members of the local sheriff’s department had just driven by Blewett’s residence when they received the emergency call, allowing them to come to the elderly woman’s assistance as quickly as possible.

Officers tied a 50-foot rope to Blewett’s cane found near the ravine, threw her the lifesaving line, and she was able to tie it around herself. Rescue crews then sent a basket stretcher down and she was pulled to safety.

“I’ve seen a lot of weird stuff, but never anything like it,” Captain Scott Lombardo of the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department told the Niagara Gazette after the woman’s rescue. “The sun and moon must have been in the right place.”

Blewett suffered bruises and scratches and was airlifted to a hospital as a precaution, the Gazette reported.

The elderly woman’s house is one of several that have small backyards adjacent to the cliff.

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