Shaler Hampton EMS director describes ‘unbelievable’ rescue following Pine Creek crash -

Shaler Hampton EMS director describes ‘unbelievable’ rescue following Pine Creek crash

Thursday, November 14, 2019 | 12:09 PM

Shaler Hampton EMS executive director Eric Schmidt said that he “would have bet a large sum of money” that he and other emergency rescue personnel would have orchestrated recovery rather than rescue efforts when a man crashed his vehicle into Pine Creek on Halloween.

Paul Skerl, 76, was driving on Elfinwild Road in Shaler when his vehicle left the roadway, fell down a steep hill and landed upside down in Pine Creek near Route 8. Rescuers took Skerl to Allegheny General Hospital. He was discharged that evening.

Schmidt said that Skerl’s car was upside down, with only the tires out of the stream. “The entire passenger compartment is under water,” Schmidt recalled during a Nov. 12 Shaler commissioners meeting.

“It’s one of those calls that in my 38 years of doing this I don’t say that I’ve seen it all — because that one was something like I truly have never seen,” Schmidt said.

Crews started arriving on the scene 30 seconds after receiving the emergency call, he said. In addition to Shaler Hampton EMS staff, Etna and McCandless rescuers assisted with the operation. Undercliff Volunteer Fire Co. and Etna Fire Department swiftwater rescue technicians played a role in relocating the car to the roadway and rescuing Skerl.

“This was a fire and rescue effort that was unbelievable to benefit this gentleman,” Schmidt said. “It was a job very, very well done.”

Sharpsburg Borough has initiated a relationship with Parkview EMS and will use Shaler Hampton EMS as its backup in Sharpsburg and western O’Hara.