May 28, 2009

Cornell Student Seriously Injured After Gorge Accident

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The status of a recent Cornell graduate who was hospitalized with serious injuries after a gorge-swimming accident in Ithaca on Monday has improved to “fair condition,” according to a hospital official.

Leslie Reed ’09 was one of several individuals swimming in Six Mile Creek near the old-hydro electric plant just one day after her graduation from Cornell when she slipped while attempting to dive into the water, witnesses told the Ithaca Fire Department.

Reed was reportedly unconscious when the Fire Department was dispatched to the scene at the 300 block of Giles Street.

“[She] struck her head and back on the rocks as she fell. Friends of [Reed] pulled her out of the water before emergency personnel arrived,” Assistant Fire Chief Daniel Tier III stated in press release.

Rescuers descended into the gorge and used a stokes basket and medical equipment to lift Reed up onto Giles Street. She was transferred to the hospital and then air-lifted to Robert Packer Hospital in Northern Pennsylvania.

Packer Hospital Spokesperson Jeanne Kulatunge said on Wednesday afternoon that Reed was listed in “fair condition” and had been moved out of the intensive care unit where she was originally being treated in “serious condition.”

Last summer, Douglas Lowe ’11, then a rising sophomore, died when a rogue current pulled him under the water in Fall Creek Gorge. Since then, Cornell has attempted to provide for students’ safety by discouraging gorge swimming and fencing off the path that leads down to Fall Creek. However, there are no fences blocking off Six Mile Creek.

The Codes and Judicial Committee has also considered banning gorge swimming altogether, but has yet to take such actions.

Check for continuing updates on this breaking news story.