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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, July 17, 2008

Clarksville boy falls off cliff

By David S. Lewis

NEW SCOTLAND – A 13-year-old hiker survived a fall from a 12-foot cliff on the Onesquethaw creek July 6.  He is recovering in his Clarksville home from two broken limbs.

After slipping on dead leaves Shaine McMillen, slid 30 feet down a steep embankment before dropping off a 10 to 12 foot precipice and landing on rocks in Onesquethaw Creek, near a section of the trail known as “The Impassables.” 

His brother, Joseph McMillen, rushed to his assistance, according to their mother, Jean McMillen.  Fearing the worst, he pulled the unconscious younger McMillen from the waters of the creek and turned him over, rocking him back and forth until he came to, she said.

Although McMillen had regained consciousness, it was clear that he had received injuries from the fall.  Rescuers responding to the accident included the New York State Police, the Onesquethaw Volunteer Fire Department, the Albany County Sheriff's Office, as well as emergency responders from Slingerlands and Voorheesville. 

Although the injuries weren't life-threatening, McMillen could not be carried out physically, so the New York State Police Aviation Unit was deployed and the boy was airlifted out of the gorge and taken to the Albany Medical Center.

McMillen had broken his right arm and left leg, his mother said; hospital surgeons placed pins in his knee, and he returned home on pain medications.

While both McMillen and his brother declined interviews, their mother, Jean McMillen, said that Joseph was the real hero, as well as all the emergency responders. 

“He's very lucky to be alive,” she said.  “He's lucky he landed in the water, I guess.”

Jean McMillen said that Shaine had been looking forward to playing football in the autumn, and was disappointed that he would be unable, but that he was handling the incident well.

“He's mature beyond his years, very quick, and very adventuresome,” she said.

She added that he had charmed hospital workers during his stay.

“He had control of the nurse's call button,” she said.  “It was really cute.  He would ring and say, 'Can you please come in?  I need to speak to you.'”

The nurses and the doctors were very gracious.  The first thing the doctor said was, “You were supposed to do this in the fall, not now,'” said McMillen.

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