2010-04-01 / Front Page

Rock Climber Cr itical After Fall

Earl Harding Jr. remains in Hershey Medical Center
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

A McConnellsburg area man remains hospitalized this week after suffering injuries on Sunday, March 21, during a rock climbing accident in Michaux State Forest.

Officials at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center reported on Monday that 37-year-old Earl Harding Jr. is currently listed in “critical condition” in connection with falling from a popular rock face climbing area known locally as White Rock.

Harding was reportedly climbing alone at the time of the accident but was observed by nearby climbers, who called 911 for emergency assistance. Harding fell approximately 70 feet and is believed to have suffered possible head injuries.

Emergency responders along with a forest ranger from the Michaux State Forest and witnesses formed a human chain and after almost an hour were able to secure Harding on a backboard before placing him in a metal rescue basket for transport to a hospital.

A temporary landing zone was created in order for LifeLion to land and take off near the Pond Bank Community Center. Mont Alto, Waynesboro, Fayetteville and Franklin Fire Company Station 4 were on scene for the rescue effort.

Harding is believed to have been utilizing climbing gear, but no evidence was found at the scene to point to him wearing a helmet.

Even though the fall is believed to have been an accident, a joint investigation by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania State Police is still ongoing.

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