First responders share hiking advice after man falls 15ft from Southington Mountain

SOUTHINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) – A man is recovering from serious injuries after falling 15ft while rock climbing this morning.

Visitors from all over come to Southington Recreation Area to hike or rock climb. This was the case Saturday morning for a 27-year-old man from East Haven. According to first responders, the man had just started climbing the mountain when he fell about 15 feet.

Southington Fire Department Captain Ed Crandall said units first arrived at the scene to assess the man’s injuries before bringing in the rest of the equipment to get him out. Crandall said eight people walked a third of a mile through the woods to transport the man to the ambulance.

While conscious, the man suffered serious injuries, including possible broken ribs, Crandall said.

“Mistakes happen, mistakes happen,” Crandall said. “Fortunately, he fell a short distance.”

It is unclear whether the man was an experienced climber, but police said it appeared his climbing gear had malfunctioned.

Fortunately, the fire department was certified in rope rescue a few years ago through a federal grant that funded specialized training and equipment to handle such incidents. The department averages about six rescues a year for lost or injured climbers and hikers.

“A lot of people going there might lose their bearings and get lost and get into a situation,” Crandall said.

Southington resident Sam Magnanini was looking forward to hitting the trails this weekend with Ashley Mafale. They’ve been hiking Ragged Mountain since they were kids and love being outdoors.

Mafale, who lives in Unionville, said they liked being outdoors and hiking because it was nice to “not have to think about work and focus on the little things.”

Magnanini said that by hiking or climbing, “you kind of take the risk.”

Magnanini and Mafale know the dangers that come with these activities and make sure to take precautions such as wearing an alarm, having extra food and water on hand, and carrying a portable GPS.

“[The GPS] is definitely a good thing to have if you’re somewhere you don’t know,” Mafale said.

Whether you’re hiking or rock climbing, first responders advise you travel with someone, have your cell phone and portable charger with you, and wear appropriate clothing.