Sunday, May 25, 2008

Tragic death of 2 year old on hiking trail in Chimney Rock Park

Hiking with his family in the North Carolina Chimney Rock Park, a 2 year old from Spartanburg South Carolina fell yesterday morning to his death in an area which has a steep drop off.

While park staff did what they could including repelling down a cliff, administering CPR and extracting the youth and transporting the child to a hospital their effort were in vain as the child tragically died.

The trail was closed off during rescue efforts which took under 2 hours included the help of Emergency response crews, fire and police who all arrived at the scene of this accident in Chimney Rock Park.

According to Rutherford County Chimney Rock Park Superintendent Adrienne Wallace the accident is under investigation and it is unknown how far the child fell as well as how the child was able fall given the fencing that lines the hiking trail.

Sadly what should have been a glorious day the park ended in an earth shattering event for the family. Many hiking trails and especially waterfalls have had serous injuries and deaths when people have climbed on wet rocks, left the designated trail or left small children unattended or not under direct control by holding their hand.

Most hiking trails do not have fencing or railings to protect people from falls and this accident shows that even fencing or rails does not mean a deadly accident can still not occur.

As a professional hiker who hikes between 10 – 15 miles a day year round I can tell you I personally slipped 3 times in the past week. I was able to catch myself twice with my hiking poles and maintain my balance but a sore on my arm and elbow are clear evidence that even a professional who is paying attention and properly equipped can easily have an accident on a hiking trail.

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