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St. Paul Park boy pulls friend to safety after cliff fall into river

Emergency crews from St. Paul Park and Cottage Grove pull a St. Paul Park teenager to safety after he fell off a cliff and into the Mississippi River Thursday. His friend pulled him from the water. Cottage Grove police photo

Police said a St. Paul Park boy likely saved his teenage friend's life when he pulled him from the Mississippi River Thursday after the teen fell off a cliff.

Douglas Gjerdahl, 16, and Jacob Seaton, 10, were walking in a wooded area of Riverside Park in St. Paul Park, overlooking the river, when Gjerdahl fell off a 20- to 30-foot cliff, St. Paul Park Police Chief Mike Monahan said. Gjerdahl landed in the river, hitting his head. He was unresponsive when Seaton pulled the teen from the water, "more than likely saving his life," Monahan said.

Emergency crews from St. Paul Park and Cottage Grove were called to the scene shortly after 4 p.m. They used a fire boat and rescue equipment to haul Gjerdahl to safety.

"It was a difficult rescue," Monahan said. "It was tough to get him."

Gjerdahl suffered head and back injuries and was transported to Regions Hospital in St. Paul. He was expected to be released Saturday.

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Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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