WILLIAMSTOWN -- An injured Brookline man spent about six hours in a remote, rugged area near the Mount Prospect Trail on Saturday as town and state emergency workers worked urgently to bring him to safety.
The rescue of 49-year-old Frederick Lawrence forced rescuers to hike about three miles in and out of extremely rugged mountain landscapes to reach Lawrence and carry him to a waiting ambulance. Two emergency responders were injured during their rescue efforts.
Town police Sgt. Scott McGowan said that Lawrence used a cellular telephone to alert police that he had slipped while walking and seriously injured his ankle. Lawrence reported the accident at 4 p.m., and police immediately assembled a rescue team. Town officers, Massachusetts Environmental Police, and emergency medical technicians with the Village Ambulance Service were assisted by a Massachusetts State Police helicopter during the initial rescue attempt.
According to McGowan, first reports indicated that that Lawrence was in an area accessible by all-terrain vehicles, and ATVs loaded with rescue gear were sent up the trail. But about 20 minutes into the trek, McGowan said he was notified by radio that the area was very treacherous and just a few minutes after that, one ATV plunged over a 10-foot embankment. The crash left EMT John Meaney of Village Ambulance with a shoulder injury and town police Officer Michael Ziemba with bruises and lacerations. Meaney was taken from the scene and brought to North Adams Regional Hospital; Ziemba continued to work with rescuers and was examined at the hospital after the rescue was completed, McGowan said.
Officials at the scene realized that the rescue would have to be accomplished on foot, and a 21-member rescue team was sent up the mountain. Team members included town and state police officers, EMTs, members of the Berkshire County Search and Rescue agency, state park rangers, state environmental police officers, and members of the Pownal, Vt., fire department.
"This was real dangerous at times," McGowan said, and noted that the rescuers hauled an emergency rescue basket, rope, medical stabilizing equipment, communication radios and portable lights as they made their way to Lawrence.