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Maryland State Police News Release

Maryland State Police Aviation Crew Rescues Hiker, Dog Stranded In Harpers Ferry

(HARPERS FERRY, WV) – A Maryland State Police helicopter was called to rescue a hiker and his dog after they became stranded on a cliff above the Shenandoah River late Sunday night.

Maryland State Police Aviation Command’s Trooper 3, based in Frederick, MD, was summoned to a densely-wooded, mountainous area of the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park around 10 p.m. The 27-year-old hiker and his dog “Angel” had been exploring the area along the Loudon Heights Trail, across the river and south of Historic Harpers Ferry Lower Town, when he became lost and unable to access the main trail.

Rescuers from Jefferson County, WV were called to the area of William L. Wilson Freeway (US340) and Chestnut Hill Road (WV32). They were able to speak with the hiker via cellular telephone and could see his headlamp on the cliffs above. However, due to the steep and treacherous terrain, they were unable to safely reach him. Due to the hiker’s precarious position, Jefferson County rescuers called the Maryland State Police to assist with extrication.

Once overhead, the pilots on Trooper 3 hovered the Agusta Westland AW-139 helicopter nearly 150 feet above, while a Trooper/Rescue Technician was lowered into a very small and challenging opening in a heavily wooded, steep, and rocky area. The Trooper/Rescue Technician made contact with the hiker and determined he did not require any medical care. A rescue basket was then lowered to the waiting Trooper/Rescue Technician and victim. The Trooper/Rescue Technician assisted the hiker and his dog into a rescue basket. They were hoisted onto the hovering aircraft. Once the hiker and his dog were secured into the cabin of the AW-139 by the Trooper/Crew Chief, the Trooper/Rescue Technician was hoisted onto the aircraft.

The uninjured hiker and his dog were flown to the helipad at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Advanced Training Facility near Harpers Ferry, where a waiting ambulance crew evaluated the hiker and coordinated arrangements for a friend to pick him up.

The MSPAC has served Maryland citizens since 1970 and operates a fleet of 10 AW139 helicopters from seven bases throughout the State. Each aircraft provides round-the-clock coverage to Maryland residents and visitors. The agency’s missions include medevac, law enforcement, search and rescue, homeland security, and disaster assessment. The success of the missions relies heavily on the cooperative efforts of local fire, rescue, EMS, law enforcement agencies, and our partners at the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Park Police.


CONTACT: F/Sgt. Jeffrey Leppert, MSPAC Western Region,
(301) 663-5742