A recent Fair Lawn High School graduate who survived a 38-foot headfirst fall at a remote swimming hole just across the New York state line over the weekend said she was grateful to be alive.
The 18-year-old victim had to be airlifted to Hackensack University Medical Center following an hour-long recovery effort by both her friends and local responders Saturday at the Ramapo River swimming hole just off Route 17 in Tuxedo, N.Y.
She apparently hit the rocks on the way down and landed face-first in the water.
"The boys who were there saved her life with their quick action and basic first-aid knowledge," her mother said. "Some jumped in with their clothes on and lifted her head out of the water."
The victim remained in stable condition Monday with broken ribs, a broken collar bones, a neck fracture and several bumps and bruises, as well as cuts that required stitches and some broken teeth.
"It really is a miracle," her mother said. "I honestly don't know how she's alive."
Nine people in all had been swimming in the unauthorized area known as "the bubbles" on Saturday when the mishap occurred, authorities said.
Lt. John Norton (wearing black in photo above) and Officer William Hall were among the responders who got to her, Tuxedo police said.
It reportedly took them nearly 20 minutes -- while others needed up to an hour -- because of the area's remote location.
With help from the injured teen's friends, responders tied ropes to floating rigs to get her out of the water, then carried her up the cliffs and along makeshift wooded trails to a railroad right-of-way, the department wrote in a Facebook post.
The Woodbury Ambulance Corps took her to nearby Quarry Field for the flight to HUMC aboard AirMed One, the post says.
Atlantic Air Rescue, town firefighters and New York State and MTA police also participated.
"This rescue was difficult, taxing to emergency personnel, some of whom had heat difficulties, and incredibly time-consuming, where seconds may count for the victim," town police added in their post.
"Please refrain from such locations. Enjoy your summer days where it is safe," they said.
The victim, as well as her loved ones and friends, all consider her fortunate.
"We're all extremely grateful to the emergency personnel involved -- police, fire, EMTs, rescue, helicopter, ambulance team, trauma unit, hospital (sorry if I missed anyone)," her mother said. "Thank you for all the selfless work you do daily."
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