Young New Hampshire girl safe after being swept to top of Swift River waterfall

CONCORD, N.H. – A 12-year-old girl from Milford visiting the Swift River in Albany, N.H., on Monday, June 18, 2012, slipped off a rock and was swept down the river about 150 feet to the top of Lower Falls. There, she was able to grab onto a rock and hold on against the strong current long enough for bystander James Barnhouse of Northeast Dover, Ohio, to make his way to her position in the river. He was able to stabilize her and together they reached the other side of the river. At the Lower Falls, the Swift River falls about 15 feet, rushing over rocky, craggy surfaces.

Another person observing the scene notified the caretaker at nearby Jigger Johnson Campground, who radioed the Carroll County Sheriff's Office for assistance (there is poor cell phone coverage in that area). Soon New Hampshire Fish and Game Conservation Officer Alexander Lopashanski, assisted by Conway Fire Personnel, was on the way to the stranded pair. They crossed the river on a bridge about a mile downriver and used U.S. Forest Service roads to reach the young girl and her rescuer. The girl was in good condition and was able to walk to the truck.

Lopashanski observed that the Swift River site where the girl slipped is a common place to swim and the river water is not especially high right now, but even at three to four feet of depth, the Swift River has a great deal of force because of the drop in elevation.

"People out enjoying the beauty of the scenery sometimes forget that the rivers and mountains can be dangerous," said Lopashanski. He urges visitors to use caution and common sense as they enjoy these natural areas.

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