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Margaretville Hunter Seriously Injured In Fall

Written By Editor on 11/24/23 | 11/24/23

Rescue personnel place injured hunter Gary Smith into a waiting ambulance after transporting him out of the woods at the head of the Dry Brook Valley. — Halcottsville Fire Department photos

ARKVILLE — A 67-year-old Margaretville man sustained serious injuries in a fall while hunting on November 17.

Gary Smith was hunting in a remote section of the Dry Brook Valley when he reportedly lost his footing on slippery terrain and plunged about 20 feet into a ravine. 

The victim began yelling for help, but the dense forest made it difficult for his companions to locate him. Mr. Smith was one of 11 family members and friends who was staying at the historic Camp 13 when the accident occurred.

The hunting party knew the general location where Mr. Smith had planned to hunt, but still had trouble pinpointing his whereabouts.  Fortunately, they were equipped with walkie-talkies which enabled them to find Mr. Smith after a search of more than a half-hour. Despite the mountainous terrain, the searchers were able to radio for medical assistance. 

Margaretville Fire Chief Nelson Delameter said his department was alerted to the emergency at 1:12 p.m. Saturday and arrived at Camp 13 in about 20 minutes. 

Recognizing that Mr. Smith was seriously injured, a medical helicopter was summoned, landing in a clearing near the Eagle Lodge property. Chief Delameter said carrying Mr. Smith through the wooded terrain was extremely difficult, compounded by the extreme pain he was in. 

It took approximately 45 minutes to transport him out of the woods. Because of the length of time, the helicopter had to respond to another emergency and a second helicopter was summoned and landed in the area off Dry Brook Road known as Kelly Flats. Mr. Smith was then transported to Albany Medical Center. He was reportedly being treated for broken ribs and a punctured lung. 

Mr. Smith was very familiar with the terrain where he was hunting, having ventured to Camp 13 for much of his life. His grandfather, Leyden Smith was among the original owners when the camp was established 90 years ago. Gary’s dad, Thomas, followed in the chain of ownership.  Gary and, more recently his son, Brent, are the third and fourth generation of partners in the camp. 

Chief Delameter said, in addition to his department, rescue personnel responding to the scene were volunteers from the Arkville, Fleischmanns and Halcottsville fire departments, and the Margaretville Hospital Emergency Medical Services. Five Forest Rangers from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation also assisted, along with several State Troopers. 

The Margaretville Fire Department was back in service shortly after 6 p.m.

A helicopter gets ready to airlift injured hunter Gary Smith of Margaretville to the Albany Medical Center.

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