Caught on tape: Crews rescue teen who fell 100 feet down East Deer Twp. cliff

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EAST DEER TOWNSHIP, Pa. —

A Channel 11 viewer’s cellphone was rolling as crews worked to rescue a teenager after she fell nearly 100 feet down an East Deer Township cliff.

The rescue happened Sunday night near Route 28.

WPXI-TV viewer Ken Spang was on the other side of the highway and watched as rescue crews used ropes and a basket to bring Joanna Brake to safety.

Officials said Brake, 19, was off-roading in a Jeep with her boyfriend and friends when it got stuck. Police said Brake walked away from the car and became sick, possibly suffering a seizure.

Tarentum police Lt. Steve Freiberg said Brake then fell over a cliff, and a passing driver called 911.

“The passerby actually saw her fall off the cliff. Luckily, he saw that, otherwise who knows how long she could have been there. He crawled halfway up the hillside to aid her,” Freiberg said.

Freiberg said the area is a popular spot to go offroading, and the situation could have happened to anyone.

“The teenagers want to go up there in the woods and have fun with their four-wheel drive vehicles. It’s always possible something will happen,” Freiberg said.

Police said Brake suffered some back pain and a few scrapes and bruises. She is listed in fair condition at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. No other injuries were reported. 

Tarentum police said they don’t expect any charges to be filed.