Governor Briefed on Thunder Hole Tragedy 

Governor John Baldacci flew over Acadia National Park Wednesday to learn more about Sunday’s tragedy at Thunder Hole.A wave washed a group of people off the rocks and into the ocean, killing a 7-year-old girl.Park officials briefed the Governor on what they’ve learned in the days since the incident.Amy Erickson has the latest.”Noone expected to see a 30 foot wave on top of 15 foot waves. One of those things. Freak of nature, I guess you’d say.”Acadia National Park Superindendent Sheridan Steele says he won’t soon forget what he saw at Thunder Hole last Sunday.He was on site when the remnants of Hurricane Bill stirred up a wave that washed a group of people off the rocks and into the ocean.7-year-old Clio Axilrod of New York City drowned before rescue crews could get to her.”Our hearts and prayers go out to the family that lost the young girl. It’s a tragedy…and we’re thinking of them.”Governor John Baldacci took a helicopter tour of the area Wednesday with Superintendent Steele, to learn more about what happened.Steele says rangers were dealing with unprecedented crowds in the Thunder Hole area when the tragedy happened. “Our best estimate is that there were 10,000 people along the ocean drive section of acadia national park. Probably the largest concentration of people in that area we’ve ever had.””We were trying to convince people not to get too close to the water and we had mixed results with that, unfortunately.”Steele says beside the fatality, there were also several injuries…16 people were treated at local hospitals.”Many people were knocked down by the waves. We had injuries like compound fractures of legs, dislocated shoulders, one broken back.”Both Baldacci and Steele agree that the agencies and volunteers who responded deserve credit for acting quickly during the crisis.”I think the best part of the story is the tremendous cooperation we received from all the other agencies and actually many private individuals. We had people with binoculars keeping an eye on people in the water so we could direct Coast Guard boats there.””it’s very clear from the visit and the granite rock bound coast that we’re very lucky we didn’t have more loss of life and more injuries than what we had.”Superintendent Steele says he’s planning on holding a review of the incident in the coming weeks, so park officials can discuss the response and decide what if anything, they might have done differently.