North Carolina

28-year-old man taking photos atop waterfall slips to his death in North Carolina

A hiker died after falling off the infamously dangerous Big Bradley Waterfall in Western North Carolina over the weekend, according to first responders and news outlets.

Aaron Post of Charleston, South Carolina, fell at about 10:40 a.m. Saturday, Polk County Emergency Management Director Bobby Arledge told McClatchy news group.

“What I’ve heard is that he was kneeling down taking a picture at the top of the falls and when he stood up, he lost his balance and fell,” Arledge told McClatchy.

A hiker who said he was in the area told WLOS he watched helplessly as Post “slid down the rock face and into the water.” Post was hospitalized with critical injuries and died Sunday, the station said.

Officials with the Henderson County Rescue Squad said on Facebook they were called Saturday to assist with the rescue, “extracting the patient out of the rugged areas to an awaiting ambulance and then onto a medical center.”

The rescue squad said a helicopter was needed to remove the hiker from the site, due to the remote location.

“Although the outcome is not what anyone wants; everyone worked together as a team to make sure this patient had the best care and extraction they could. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends during this difficult time,” the department posted.

Big Bradley Falls near Saluda is “tucked in a small gorge on Cove Creek,” according to NCWaterfalls.com. The water drops 75 to 100 feet between steep sides, according to hiking sites.

“It can be a dangerous area and several people have died here over the years,” NCWaterfalls.com says.

Lance Konstants Healy, 47, of the Charlotte area died after falling off the same waterfall in 2017, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times. He was hiking with his two pre-teen daughters at the time, the newspaper said.

The U.S. Forest Service posted a warning on Facebook Monday that “many people have died or been seriously injured from unsafe behavior around waterfalls,” including jumping from them.

“Waterfalls are best viewed from a distance... Mist often makes rocks and stairs near the falls slippery,” said the post. “Do not climb around or stand at the top of the falls. It is often unsafe and unstable and has resulted in death on the National Forests.”

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Mark Price has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1991, covering beats including schools, crime, immigration, the LGBTQ issues, homelessness and nonprofits. He graduated from the University of Memphis with majors in journalism and art history, and a minor in geology.
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