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Firefighters save 8 people and a dog at 3 rope rescue calls Saturday

Hamilton fire crews were quite busy saving stranded hikers and would-be climbers at Hamilton waterfalls Saturday.
One woman was injured at one of three rope rescue calls emergency crews responded to on Saturday. (Cory Ruf/CBC)

Hamilton fire crews were quite busy saving stranded hikers and would-be climbers at Hamilton waterfalls Saturday.

In total, they were called to three different areas in a two-and-a-half hour span to save eight people and a dog.

"We have to stress that you stay on signed pathways and don't overestimate your hiking abilities," fire department public information officer Claudio Mostacci told CBC News.

The first call firefighters received came in around 12:26 p.m., for a woman who had fallen just over nine metres at the bottom of Sherman Falls.

She was injured but conscious, Mostacci said. In the end, the woman was carried out by a stretcher instead of by full rope rescue.

Then at 2:04 p.m., firefighters were called to Tew's Falls. This time, five people were stuck — three adults, two kids, and a dog.

No one in the group was injured, Mostacci said, they just couldn't go up or down. This time, full rope rescues were required, "including the dog," Mostacci said.

"It happens quickly — all of a sudden you're in a position where go can't go forward or backwards," he said.

The third call came from Felker's Falls, just over an hour later. This time a man and woman were stuck around 10 to 12 metres down, and again couldn't move. They weren't injured.

With these three incidents, there have now been 19 rope rescue calls in Hamilton this year, matching 2015's total with four months left in the year.

That is somewhat higher than the 13 rope rescue calls fire crews received in 2010 and 2011. Mostacci attributes that rise to Hamilton's resurgence as a "city of waterfalls" bringing more people to local conservation areas. 

adam.carter@cbc.ca

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