Appalachian Trail Officials: Hiker’s Fatal Fall a ‘Rare’ Occurrence

Appalachian Trail officials say the recent death of a hiker in Southwestern Massachusetts was a rare occurrence.

Brian King with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy says his group has been told the young man slipped and fell about 35 feet. King says this sort of fatal accident happens about once every three years.

“And most of the time it’s not folks just out hiking like they were. The falls we do have tend to be teenagers out at a viewpoint, partying and had too much to drink,” King says.

The National Park Service’s chief law enforcement ranger for the trail, Todd Remaley, says this recent death was not on the main route, but on a side trail leading to a waterfall.

Remaley says firm statistics are hard to come by, but he estimates a total of 3 to 6 trail-related deaths each year, almost all from medical emergencies like heart attacks rather than from falls.