ITHACA, N.Y.—Ithaca Fire Department and Bangs Ambulance responded to two different incidents in a row on Friday evening in the Ithaca gorges as swimmers descended upon them to beat the new spring heat.

The first incident took place at 5:20 p.m. on Friday, as firefighters and Bangs Ambulance workers responded to the 30 foot-dam at Six Mile Creek for an unconscious person who had been swimming. Upon finding the person, they were in “significant medical distress [and] needed to be evacuated from the gorge.” The person was removed from the gorge and taken to an ambulance.

While workers were tending to that, a hiker told them that there was a different group of people down the trail who were also in need of help. Firefighters then found a person who was “stuck on a steep slope and unable to proceed any further.”

Crews then utilized ropes to move the person to safety, according to IFD Public Information Officer Jim Wheal. The operations took about two hours total.

“As the weather becomes sunnier and warmer, IFD would like to remind
people to enjoy the gorges and natural areas safely,” Wheal wrote. “Stay on trails, don’t swim in unsafe areas, carry a cell phone, and know where you are in case you need to call for help.”

Matt Butler is the Editor in Chief of The Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at