Tree stump saves man from fall off cliff

25 04 2008

PATERSON — A man who fell 30 feet off Garret Mountain on Wednesday afternoon while talking to his friend would have plummeted much farther had a tree stump jutting from the mountainside not broken his fall, authorities said.

Josue Barbosa, 32, of Clifton was speaking with his girlfriend on a cellphone and walking along a ridgeline in the Garret Mountain Reservation when he fell from a medium-grade cliff. His friend heard a commotion over the phone and, sensing something was amiss, rushed from her Passaic home to the location where Barbosa always hung out, said Bill Maer, a spokesman for the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department.

When the friend arrived, she discovered Barbosa about 30 feet below the ridge, propped on a tree stump growing out of the mountainside. Had he not landed there, he would have fallen about 100 feet, Maer said.

First responders came to the rescue. Paterson firefighters tied up ropes and rappelled down the cliff to reach Barbosa, who was placed in a rescue basket. He was taken to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center. Barbosa’s condition was not known Wednesday night, but his injuries were not considered life-threatening, authorities said.

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