06/30/2008

N.Y. sheriff's chopper rescues 9 hikers

The Associated Press

OTTO, N.Y. — A helicopter saved nine young hikers from a ledge in a western New York gorge where they spent the night after getting stranded.

State police say an Erie County sheriff's helicopter plucked the hikers Monday morning from a ledge about 20 feet above the rain-swollen Cattauraugus Creek in the Zoar Valley. The hikers are ages 17 to 21.

Troopers say the hikers, from suburban Buffalo, were hiking Sunday when rising waters from heavy rainfall cut off their access to a trail leading out of the gorge. The popular hiking area is located along the Erie-Cattaraugus county line, 30 miles south of Buffalo.

Attempts to reach the group Sunday night were hampered by fog and darkness, and the rescue effort was put off until daylight.

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