Schenectady County

Man in bucket loader falls down embankment

A 70-year-old Clifton Park man fell about 100 feet down an embankment above the Mohawk River while o

A 70-year-old Clifton Park man fell about 100 feet down an embankment above the Mohawk River while operating a construction vehicle Saturday and had to be rescued by water from a remote location by emergency personnel before being flown to Albany Medical Center Hospital.

The condition of Edmund Dearstyne, who was moving gravel at 883 Riverview Road when the approximately 12:45 p.m. incident occurred, could not be determined late Saturday. State police said they believed the injuries weren’t life-threatening.

State police said Dearstyne was operating a bucket loader when it began to slip down a steep incline toward the Mohawk River. The vehicle had a front and back bucket that are used to move material, and Dearstyne attempted to correct the vehicle by digging into the ground with the back bucket, state police said.

State police Sgt. John Digman said that the front bucket simultaneously moved upward, shifting the vehicle’s weight and causing Dearstyne and the vehicle to fall. Police responded to the scene shortly after the approximately 12:45 p.m. accident, Digman said.

The bucket loader landed on a tree that was about 70 feet from a bank of the Mohawk River, Digman said, with Dearstyne still in the machine. A boat from the Alplaus Volunteer Fire Department was used to transport rescuers and equipment to Dearstyne, since the location he fell to was not accessible, police said.

Dearstyne was freed from the construction vehicle and moved by boat to a clearing, where he was then transported by helicopter to Albany Med. Digman said Dearstyne had cuts and several broken bones. Hospital spokespeople did not return a call regarding Dearstyne’s status.

State police said they believe the tree he landed on may have been enough to break his fall.

“He’s a lucky man,” Digman said.

Numerous local police and fire departments responded to the scene, including state police, the Saratoga County Sheriff Department and the Vischer Ferry Volunteer Fire Co. The nearby dock at the Schenectady Yacht Club was used to access to the river.

Alcohol was not a factor in the accident, and no charges are planned for Dearstyne or anyone else in connection with the incident, Digman said.

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