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Hiker, 16, falls to death at Buffalo National River, park service says

by Brianna Kwasnik | September 27, 2021 at 2:47 p.m.
Lost Valley trail in Boxley Valley, Ark., on 10/06/2020. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Cary Jenkins)

A 16-year old hiker from Ava, Mo. fell to his death near Lost Valley Trail at Buffalo National River on Saturday, according to the National Park Service.

The Newton County sheriff’s office was dispatched around 1 p.m. for a fallen hiker near Eden Falls Cave on the Lost Valley Trail, a news release from the park service states.

According to the release, the teen was hiking with a large group from his church when he left the established trail and climbed up the steep hillside near the cave entrance.

The teen lost his footing and fell approximately 20 feet, suffering “traumatic head and spinal injuries,” the park service said.

He was unresponsive when rangers and paramedics arrived, and life-saving efforts were unsuccessful, the release states.

This is the first death this year on a trail in Buffalo National River, said Cassie Branstetter, branch chief of interpretation.

She said injuries on trails in the park are common and on average yearly, there are five serious injuries that occur on trails at Buffalo National River.

This year, she said, besides this incident, there has been one death on the river and one suicide in the park. Last year at Buffalo National River there was one death on a trail, one death on the river and two vehicle accident-related fatalities, Branstetter said.


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