Who knew yard maintenance could be so hazardous? An 86-year-old woman was peaceably raking leaves in her backyard about 1:30 p.m. Thursday, when the ground suddenly gave out. The woman Beverly Blewett, tumbled and rolled for 30 feet before grabbing on to a tree branch at the last minute. She found herself looking down at the cliff over Eighteen Mile Creek in Niagara County, N.Y.
White-knuckled and panicking, she cried for help, but it was almost an hour before the neighbors heard her and called 911. The police, meanwhile, just happened to be in the area.
Capt. Capt. Scott Lombardo of the NCSD and Sal Caccamo of the Border Patrol were down the street. “We were just down that street,” said Lombardo. “We just passed it. Who knows how long she would have been able to hang on?”
Indeed, she was out on a limb, but soon the rescue brigade was at foot, and they used a Stokes Basket — the kind for dodging obstacles — and with that, combined with an effort to tie her cane to a rope, which she caught, they were able to strap her into the basket and pull her free.
Blewett suffered bruises and scratches, but was airlifted to Erie County Medial Center just to be sure, and it seems the only thing she got was an incredible story to tell.
“I’ve seen a lot of weird stuff,” said Lombardo, a sheriff for 20 years, “but I’ve never seen anything like it The sun and moon must have been in the right place.”