READ UPDATE: Authorities say the younger 22-year-old brother was hiking ahead of his sibling and wasn't hurt. The two men had spent the night at a nearby lean-to along the Appalachian Trail.

Sheffield Police Officer Eric R. Munson III was among the first of eventually 40-50 rescuers from seven communities on the scene, half of whom climbed the steep hillside. They arrived to find a nearby group of students from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., who were trying to save the man's life, according to Munson.

"They had just finished their wilderness first aid training and were attending to the victim," he said.

As emergency medical personnel began to bring the severely injured hiker down to safety, he began to succumb to his injuries, going into cardiac arrest at one point. As the young man fought to stay alive, Sheffield fire officials decided to call in a New York State Police rescue helicopter in an attempt to airlift the hiker off the hillside in order to quickly get him to a nearby hospital.



However, the victim died before the emergency crews could attempt the rescue.

"It was an extraordinary effort by everyone involved," said Sheffield Fire Chief Rick Boardman.

While the hardiest of hikers are attracted to the fall's cascading water and serene wading pools, there's danger lurking behind that natural beauty, he said.

"The ravine is treacherous, especially the part where [the victim] fell as it was the steepest -- the worst," noted Boardman.

In addition to Sheffield, fire and emergency personnel from Egremont, Great Barrington, along with Falls Village, Sharon, Norfolk, Cornwall and North Canaan all in Connecticut, assisted in the rescue. A Life Net helicopter from New York was also on the scene, prepared to airlift the hiker to the nearest hospital trauma center.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.