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'Unsanctioned' Hike Leads to Tragedy in NY Park

College student Katherine Vollmer, 20, fell off cliff in Hasbrouck Park near SUNY New Paltz
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2019 9:45 AM CST
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A cliff in New Paltz not far from Kingston's Hasbrouck Park.   (Getty Images/demerzel21)

(Newser) – College students on a Monday evening hike in an upstate New York park met tragedy when one of the hikers slipped and fell 150 feet to her death. NBC News reports 20-year-old Katherine Vollmer, from Rochester, was returning with her companions to their vehicles in Hasbrouck Park in Kingston, near SUNY New Paltz, just before 10pm when they found themselves at the edge of a cliff. As the "unsanctioned hiking group," which had been exploring old cement caves and trails for several hours, made its way down the precipice, Vollmer lost her footing, reports the New York Post. Due to the darkness and weather conditions, fire and police officials were forced to wait until Tuesday to recover Vollmer's body, which they did with "an experienced rope team," Kingston police say.

Kingston Fire Chief Mark Brown tells the Daily Freeman it was "one of the toughest recoveries I've ever seen." Police add that Vollmer "suffered severe trauma from the fall"; she was pronounced dead at the scene. SUNY New Paltz President Donald Christian identified Vollmer as a visual arts major who transferred in the fall to New Paltz from Monroe Community College in Rochester. "We extend our deepest sympathy to Katherine's family and friends and to the students, faculty, and staff who knew her," Vollmer says in a statement. (Read more hiking death stories.)

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