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De Soto student airlifted to hospital after falling from bluff on field trip

FARMINGTON, Mo. – A De Soto High School student fell off a cliff while on a field trip at Pickle Springs Conservation Area and had to be airlifted to a St. Louis-area hospital.

Park goers describe Pickle Springs as filled with bluffs and cliffs. Something went wrong and the teenager, believed to be 16-years-old, fell 50 to 60 feet.

“It had to be extremely scary; it was truly a long fall,” said Fire Chief Todd Mecey, Farmington Fire Department.

Farmington firefighters assisted Wolf Creek crews at the conservation area in rescuing of the student.

“He was up at the edge of a tall bluff and he either slipped or some rocks gave way and caused him to fall down the bluff,” Mecey said.

A photo shows the firefighters surrounding the teen at the bottom of the bluff where he fell.

“Fortunately, it wasn’t just a straight fall, it was kind of staggered fall,” Mecey said. “So he had kind of multiple impacts throughout his fall, which actually helped him and lessened the severity of the injuries in my opinion.”

Farmington was called in because crews there are trained for high angle rescues. They said the rescue was difficult.

“Very rugged terrain, very steep, paths aren’t improved in that area,” Mecey said. “Basically, everything is dirt paths and it’s very steep terrain.”

Once the boy was airlifted to Mercy Hospital, the field trip ended. Students returned to school and were left wondering how their injured classmate was doing.

Chief Mecey said the boy should survive.

“It did appear to be survivable injuries he was conscious and alert and talking to us,” he said.

The school superintendent said students’ safety is paramount in the minds of educators. Students and teachers have been to Pickle Springs before and had no problems. He said they work to maximize the safety of kids in and out school.

Pickle Springs is located about 75 miles south of St. Louis.