OTTO, N.Y. – A helicopter rescued nine young hikers Monday who were trapped overnight on a ledge above a rain-swollen creek.
The Erie County sheriff's helicopter brought the hikers down from the spot about 20 feet above Cattaraugus Creek in western New York, state police Sgt. Thomas Kelly said.
Troopers said the three women and six men, ranging in age from 17 to 21, were hiking Sunday when the rising creek cut off their access to a trail leading out of the gorge. The popular hiking area is in the Zoar Valley, some 30 miles south of Buffalo.
The hikers, dressed in T-shirts and shorts, called 911 around 8 p.m. Sunday to report they were trapped, Kelly said.
Attempts to reach the group Sunday night were hampered by fog and darkness, so the rescue effort was put off until daylight. Overnight temperatures dipped to the high 50s.
The helicopter took them out two at a time between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., Kelly said. Afterward, they were taken to Tri-County Hospital in Gowanda to be checked out, Kelly said.
Eight were treated and released and the ninth declined treatment, hospital spokeswoman Kendrick Bentham said. The nine are all from Buffalo suburbs.