© Associated PressTwo boys watch as heavy surf generated by Hurricane Bill pounds the shore, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2009, in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
Augusta - Rangers at Acadia National Park insisted Monday that they had done all they could to warn visitors before beauty suddenly turned brutal, launching a hurricane-generated wave over a group of gawkers, dragging three into the roiling Atlantic and killing a 7-year-old girl.
Many visitors didn't heed alerts Sunday to keep back from huge waves that crashed spectacularly and dangerously against the rocky shore as Hurricane Bill passed over open ocean to the east, the park's chief ranger said.
Two people were hospitalized after being pulled into the churning surf by a wave that crashed on the rocks about 150 yards from a popular attraction known as Thunder Hole, where plume-like sprays rise into the air even under less severe conditions. A viewing platform there had already been closed by the park because of the dangerous conditions.
The wave swept over 20 people, 11 of whom were taken to the hospital with injuries including broken bones from being slammed onto the rocks, officials said.
Spectators eager to take in the views of dramatic surf began filling up Acadia, about 75 miles east of Augusta, the state capital, on Sunday morning, Chief Ranger Stuart West said. As the tide rose, generating even bigger waves, 10,000 people eventually parked along the road to view the waves spun off by Bill, West said.