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Sarah Gorvin, Forum News Service, Published August 20 2013

Woman rescued after falling from bluff in Red Wing

RED WING, Minn. - A Minnesota State Patrol helicopter was used to rescue a woman from Barn Bluff's northeast side Tuesday morning.

The Red Wing Fire Department said the woman, 26, from the Red Wing area, was on the bluff's north trail when she fell. Rescue crews were called to the scene at 9:48 a.m.

Two Red Wing paramedics - equipped with medical and spinal immobilization equipment - descended to the patient, Fire Capt. Jim Eppen said in a news release. However, because of the woman's location, the paramedics were unable to get her off the bluff on foot.

A Minnesota State Patrol helicopter arrived on scene about 10:30 a.m. The helicopter landed near Red Wing Wastewater Treatment Plant to prepare for what Fire Capt. Tom Schneider said was a "long line" rescue.

Two paramedics from St. Paul -- who are trained specifically in this type of rescue -- were suspended from the helicopter on a long cable and then lowered to the patient. Once they reached the ground, they detached themselves from the cable.

Meanwhile, Schneider said Red Wing paramedics loaded the woman into a stokes basket to prepare her for the rescue.

"We do the initial treatment and packaging and preparation," Schneider said.

The St. Paul paramedics then loaded her into a second bag, which the helicopter lifted off the bluff. Once back on the ground, the woman was loaded into a waiting ambulance and taken to Mayo Clinic Health System in Red Wing. She was subsequently airlifted to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester.

Eppen said she was in stable condition at the time of transport.

Schneider said Tuesday's rescue went as planned.

"It went extremely well," he said. "In this instance, it was the perfect tool for the job."

This is the third Barn Bluff-related incident in the last two years.

In May, a 54-year-old Missouri man, David Locuson, fell well jogging on the bluff. He was pronounced dead at the scene. In September 2011, 75-year-old Mavis Knudson of Edina, Minn., fell from the bluff's west overlook. She also died at the scene.