A resident of Forest Falls fell 30 to 35 feet Monday near a steep cataract in rugged Mill Creek Canyon, and a helicopter crew rescued her, according to the Sheriff's Department.
"She's a local girl, they took her to Loma Linda," Bernadette Griffith, who works at Elkhorn General Store, told Redlands-Loma Linda Patch. "They did a hoist."
The hiker was injured in the Upper Falls area of Big Falls, near the end of Valley of the Falls Drive, and a call for help reached sheriff's dispatch at 1:44 p.m. Monday, a sheriff's spokeswoman said.
"From what I understand they were climbing the falls and she fell," Griffith said in a phone interview. "She just moved up here a couple months ago, from Yucaipa. She's 9 years old."
County Fire personnel and a deputy from the Yucaipa Station responded and learned "a female juvenile and a group of friends went for a day hike in the Upper Falls area," sheriff's spokeswoman Jodi Miller said in a statement. "The victim for an unknown reason fell approximately 30-35 feet."
Forest Service and County Fire responders hiked up to the victim and placed her in a rescue litter, and a sheriff's helicopter crew hoisted her to the airship for the flight to a local hospital, according to Miller.
"There were other people with her," Griffith said. "These things happen but it hits home when it's someone from the canyon. Everybody up here is pulling for her."
Big Falls is one of the most popular destinations in Mill Creek Canyon. A weather-beaten sign at a trailhead below the falls warns visitors of the hazards:
"Wet rocks below the waterfalls and unstable cliffs have resulted in falls that have claimed many lives."
Forest Falls is about 20 miles northeast of downtown Redlands, in a box canyon that provides access to the mountainous San Gorgonio Wilderness. The lower end of Big Falls is around 6,200 feet elevation where it empties into Mill Creek.