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Missing man found alive in Thacher Park

Dan Levy
Updated: January 03, 2020 06:05 PM
Created: January 03, 2020 10:33 AM

VOORHEESVILLE - After spending two cold nights, injured, at the bottom of the Thacher Park ravine, you might say Zachary Barrantes had angels watching over him.

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A team of experienced searchers had been scouring the rugged, forested cliff bottom of the Helderbergs escarpment for two days. Soon after sunrise on Friday morning came success.

"They found a shoe and then went down from the shoe and found Zachary leaning up against the tree," said Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple. "It appears that he had gone off the edge on New Year's Eve and has been down there since."

Barrantes was wearing sweat pants and a thinly lined winter coat when he was found, Apple said. For the next four hours, a rescue team wrapped him, treated him, dragged him, and hoisted him back up the steep cliffs of the popular state park from which he jumped on New Year's Eve.

"I gotta be honest," Apple admits, "I'm blown away that he's alive."

Apple said Barrantes' arms and legs were banged up, but didn't know if he sustained any fractures. The 25-year old Albany man was flown by Medivac helicopter to Albany Medical Center following his rescue.

"He came up here with a goal in mind," Apple continued, "It is unfortunate that he obviously is battling some demons. He has some mental health issues."

Apple wonders by an Uber driver would drop him off alone in the dark on New Year's Eve, especially given the notorious history of the popular state park and its deadly lure.

"It comes in little spurts," Apple states, "Holidays are a tough time of year. People are depressed. Unfortunately, this place is known (as a place) where people will come to jump."

Apple says he's also somewhat bothered that the Uber driver didn't see any red flags.

"At least alert somebody," the sheriff suggested, "I don't know what's going on but I dropped this guy off up there at eleven. I don't hink that's asking oo much as a human being."

Apple points out Barrantes is only the second person he can remember who survived a fall from the Thacher Park cliffs. Clearly, the angels outnumbered the demons this time around.

Barrantes had been missing since New Year's Eve. Police say he may have taken an Uber to the park.

He survived 48 hours at the bottom of the Helderberg escarpment.

NewsChannel 13's Dan Levy is following this story. We will have updates on WNYT.com and our newscasts starting Live at 4.

WEB EXTRA: Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple gives an update on the rescue


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