A man who tumbled 20 to 30 feet down a cliff to the Black River shore off Huntington Street during the night was flown Friday morning by helicopter to Upstate Medical University, Syracuse.
Charles C. Tousant, 65, of 30050 Middle Road, was conscious and talking after firefighters rappelled down the cliff behind Millers Garage, 801 Huntington St., to reach him, according to Watertown Fire Chief Dale C. Herman. The victim estimated he had been on the river shore at least six hours, the chief said.
Mr. Tousant was discovered at 7:54 a.m., found slumped over a rock, Chief Herman said. After he was placed on a backboard and brought to street level by an aerial firetruck in a Stokes basket about 9 a.m., he was taken by Guilfoyle Ambulance to Huntington Heights Apartments to the waiting helicopter. A firefighter had attached himself to the basket to render whatever assistance the injured man required.
The rescue operation went smoothly, the chief said.
Chief Herman said any time a person falls a distance three times his height, he is considered to have potential life-threatening injuries. It therefore was determined that he should be flown to Syracuse, although the only known injuries at the time were to his legs, the chief said. He added that Mr. Tousant was unable to assist in his rescue operation.
On Friday afternoon, the hospital reported his condition as fair.
Police said Mr. Tousant had parked his car nearby during the night, and then apparently was unable to see when he got too close to the cliff. No foul play is suspected, police said.