13-year-old girl rescued after being trapped for about 5 hours on rock wall

A rock climbing adventure turned into an hours-long rescue mission for a 13-year-old girl at a park in Sandstone, Minn. according to the Pine County Sheriff's Office.

“Once she realized she wasn’t going to be super quick, I’ve got to give it to her because she really held it together,” said Clinton Langrud, an Isanti Fire Department technician.

The rescue call came in around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday from at Robinson Park in Sandstone. The teen was climbing with an experienced group on a known route when her knee became wedged between two pieces of rock. While safely harnessed and in no danger of falling to the ground, the teen was trapped about 40 feet up the wall. One of the closest response crews trained in this type of rescue was the Isanti Fire Department, located about an hour from the park. 

“We’re a long ways a way,” said Langrud. “It was a surprise call.”

Once Langrud and his crew members arrived, it took more than three hours until the girl was finally free. 

“It put my brain into overdrive when I got there,” said Langrud. “Just to figure out how we’re going to get her out.” 

They tried to lift her out, but quickly realized she was too stuck, and too swollen. So, Clinton and the others on scene used a tool to break off a 100-pound chunk of rock. 

“That allowed me to see her foot again, and that portion of her leg,” said Langrud. “Rock doesn’t move. It either has to be chiseled or drilled. And it’s got to be flaked away.” 

The rescue also took a little help from a common household product.

“Dawn dish soap could get a handout,” said Langrud. “It did a lot to getting her leg out.” 

It’s a rescue call Langrud and the other responding crews train for, but he says at no point in his career has he ever needed to use that training. 

“Very rare for us to get a ropes call,” said Langrud. “Even more rare to get a climbing ropes call.” 

According to the Pine County Sheriff’s Office, the crews finally freed the girl around 8 p.m. She was not seriously injured and is expected to fully recover. According to the girl’s dad, she got out of the hospital and went right back to camp. 

"We always get a little bit fortunate,” said Langrud. “Good to have luck on your side. In this case, we did."