Rescuers Tell All About Getting Hunter To Safety

November 23, 2010 Updated Nov 24, 2010 at 9:04 AM EDT

By Jennifer Stanonis

November 23, 2010 Updated Nov 24, 2010 at 9:04 AM EDT

GOWANDA, NY (WKBW) -- It was one rescue attempt after another but emergency officials were determined to get an injured hunter to safety as well as six other rescuers who became stuck in the process.

It was a happy day for emergency crews on Tuesday after more than half a day of trying to get the missing hunter to safety from the gorge in Zoar Valley. It was Monday morning when 18 year old Andrew Carriero of Gowanda was reported missing while deer hunting with his father.

The Erie County Sheriff's Air One Helicopter was called to the area. Soon after the chopper pilots spotted the hunter in the Cattaraugus Creek seriously injured with a broken leg. The chopper landed and the co-pilot got to Andrew pulling him onto shore, and stayed with him until rescuers could reach them on foot a couple hours later. "He was quite alert actually, but he said he didn't remember falling" Air One co-pilot Art Litzinger said. "He had a pretty good head injury and I think he had been knocked unconscious for awhile."

The rain and the difficult terrain caused several rescuers to also become stuck there for most of the night. Finally a team repelled down the gorge and reached the group. The hunter was rescued around three Tuesday morning and the rest of the group around sunrise. "We keep trying to tell people you get down there around the Zoar Valley Gorge you better know what you're doing and better have people with you because {Andrew} is just awful lucky to be alive," Capt. Kevin Caffery, Erie County Sheriff helicopter pilot, said.

Carriero is a criminal justice student at Jamestown Community College. He was listed in critical condition at the Erie County Medical Center in the trauma unit Tuesday evening.