Six Union students aided in the rescue of Carly Sinnott, 17, of Clifton Park, late in the afternoon on Tuesday, May 12, after she fell over 50 feet from the second set of falls at the Plotter Kill Preserve in Rotterdam. Sinnott died of the injuries she sustained during her fall on Wednesday, May 13, at 2:18 a.m.
Kevin Pollio ’18, Greg Langer ’18, Jack Simpson ’18, Adam Ashcroft ’18, Mark Marzotto ’18 and Joe Caruso ’18 were at the preserve, just “checking out Potter Kill for the first time, when (they) heard screams for help,” according to Pollio.
None of the six students know much about first aid, but when they found Sinnott’s boyfriend holding her up, unconscious, in the shallow water, Langer and Simpson immediately ran down to the water where she had fallen.
Pollio then proceeded to pull Sinnott out of the water and lay her on her side, and the three boys waited for emergency services to arrive.
While this was occurring, Ashcroft, Marzotto and Caruso were retreating back toward the trailhead to locate emergency services and guide them toward the scene of the accident.
After the fall, Sinnott was rescued via helicopter and sent to Albany Medical Center. It took a team of approximately 47 people to rescue her.
Pollio said that Union graduate and cousin of Sinnott Gabrielle Tantillo ’12 reached out to him after the tragedy. Tantillo thanked Pollio and his five friends for everything they did to help her cousin.
Pollio personally wanted to warn Union students that they “should be aware of how dangerous (Plotter Kill Preserve) is and be extra careful if (they) are going to spend time at the falls.” Pollio and all of his friends stated that they are sending their thoughts and prayers to Sinnott’s family.
Plotter Kill Fire Chief John Tobiassen also stressed the importance of being aware of the environment at the reserve. He stated that people should know, “Where they’re going; where their location is. Definitely wear proper clothing. So many times they are not properly dressed.”
Tobiassen also emphasized the importance of always making sure hikers’ cell phones are charged, so if an accident does occur, individuals will have enough battery power to contact 911 and stay on the phone with emergency services.
Tobiassen acknowledged that the boys were helpful in calling dispatch: “It was a tremendous help because it really helped us localize, focus on where the individuals were and saved a lot of time from having to really sit down and find out where they were and then go from there.”
The chief stated that staying on the trails is of the utmost importance when hiking in Plotter Kill. “I can’t stress enough: stay on the trails,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about.”
Sinnott was a junior at Mekeel Christian Academy in Scotia. She was on the honor roll, sang in the school choir and was captain of her volleyball team.
The school has a team of pastors and professionals available to aid students with processing and grieving Sinnott’s death.