Acadia National Park rangers had
repeatedly warned tourists to stay off a rocky shore
Sunday before a hurricane-fueled wave swept several
spectators into the sea near the popular attraction,
killing a 7-year-old girl.
“We had rangers calling people back
all day,’’ the Maine park’s chief ranger, Stuart
West, said by phone yesterday.
Up to 10,000 people parked along the
roadway to watch the towering waves spun off by the
passing Hurricane Bill, park authorities said. Gates
were used to close Thunder Hole, a popular place to
watch crashing waves, and signs warned of the
danger. But hordes gathered on the line of rocks
Swells reaching 12 to 15 feet rolled
in throughout Sunday morning, but a much larger wave
hit the coast just before noon.
Clio Axlerod, a 7-year-old girl from
New York City, her father, Peter Axlerod, 55, and
five others were knocked into the water.
Four people were able to pull
themselves back on shore.
But the tide pulled the Axlerods and
Simone Pelletier, a 12-year-old girl from Belfast,
Maine, farther out into the Atlantic, authorities
The Coast Guard rescued Peter Axlerod
and Pelletier about an hour later, and they were
taken by ambulance to Mount Desert Island Hospital
in Bar Harbor. Peter Axlerod was later airlifted to
Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.
About 3:30 p.m., rescuers recovered
Clio Axlerod and took her to the hospital, where she
was declared dead.
Thirteen people, including Sandra
Kuhatch-Axlerod, 51, of New York City, were knocked
down by the unusually large wave, authorities said.
All were taken to the emergency room.
Thunder Hole was closed yesterday,
but could be opened today depending on sea
The events of Sunday’s tragedy will
not alter the park’s Thunder Hole policy, he said.
In a similar episode, a Somerville
man died Sunday after rough surf swept him out to
sea off Nahant Saturday
afternoon, police Lieutenant Tom Hutton said.
Steven Trotter, 43, was standing in
about 3 inches of water when a wave carried him out
to sea, a witness and friend of Hutton’s told
police. He was retrieved by a man in a lobster boat
but died at Massachusetts General Hospital, Hutton
Globe correspondent Christopher
Girard contributed to this report.