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Hikers rescued from gorge in Ontario, Whirlpool State Park

Two dramatic Niagara River gorge rescues occurred over the holiday weekend, one of them leading to a six-hour ordeal to get two hikers to safety from the Whirlpool State Park gorge.

Niagara Falls firefighters – with assistance across the river from Niagara Parks Police and Ontario firefighters – worked long into Sunday morning to get two hikers to safety.

Three people, whom the fire department did not identify, were hiking at 10 p.m. Saturday when one of them climbed to safety in the dark and called for help to rescue the remaining two stuck in the gorge, said a fire department spokeswoman.

No injuries were reported, but the rescue effort took about six hours until 4 a.m. Sunday, the spokesman said.

No further details were available Sunday.

Meanwhile, across the border, a hiker was rescued in the lower Niagara River gorge on the Canadian side of the river Saturday evening.

A 32-year-old Welland, Ont., man was hiking with friends off the marked trails and jumping between rocks near the edge of the river, when he lost his footing and fell a short distance to the ground, injuring his leg, Niagara Parks Police said in a statement.

The injured hiker wasn’t able to climb out of the gorge on his own because of the injury, which occurred about 7:30 p.m.

The Niagara Falls Fire Department and the Niagara Parks Police Service’s High Angle River Team carried the hiker up from the river shore to the steel staircase at the Niagara Glen. The injured hiker was then lifted out of the gorge with the assistance of the Davit Arm and taken to the hospital at 8:50 p.m.

Alcohol is believed to have been a contributing factor. The hiker was cited for allegedly being intoxicated in a public place.