TOWNSHIP E — A Lewiston woman died Saturday, May 7, after she went over Smalls Falls in the Sandy River in the Rangeley Lakes region.

Tanisha Barry, 29, was with friends at about 4:30 p.m. when she and a friend were in a pool above the falls and fell about 30 feet down the falls, according to Mark Latti, communications director for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife.

A friend tried to rescue Barry at the bottom of the falls, but could not locate her in the turbulent water, Latti said. The friend drove from the falls to an area with cellphone reception to call 911 and then returned to the falls.

The Rangeley Fire & Rescue Department, Maine Warden Service, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and NorthStar EMS ambulance responded to the call, according to fire Capt. Jonny Wakefield, public information officer for the department.

“We had personnel on scene within 10 minutes of the call, but could not locate the victim,” Wakefield said. “We then had a visual on the woman underneath the waterfall.”

Wakefield, Chief Michael Bacon and Capt. Tiger Sykes went over the edge on ropes, descending about 75 feet in cold water suits.


The rescue was difficult due to its location, according to Wakefield.

Rescue workers from the Strong and Phillips fire departments and Franklin Search and Rescue also assisted with the recovery operation.

“It was an extremely challenging recovery involving the water fall, current and wet rock faces,” Wakefield said.

Barry was taken by NorthStar Ambulance to to Wiles Funeral Home in Farmington.

The Office of Chief Medical Examiner was expected to conduct an examination of the victim later Sunday.

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