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Hiker dies in fall at Glen Onoko Falls

Published On: Apr 14 2014 12:42:26 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 15 2014 05:39:48 PM EDT
Glen Onoko Falls rescue 4-14-14

A Lehigh County man was killed around midday Monday in a fall at Glen Onoko Falls, which overlook the Lehigh River north of Jim Thorpe in Carbon County.

The victim, Jesse Michael Crossley, 20, of Catasauqua, suffered severe head injuries after falling 30 to 40 feet from a ledge near the falls, officials said. He had been hiking in sneakers and a bathing suit with a small group of friends.

After conducting an autopsy Tuesday, Carbon County Coroner Bruce Nalesnick ruled the death was accidental. He said Crossley died from multiple blunt force injuries.


State police on the scene said the death was not suspicious. They said the Catasauqua man had been hiking in the area in the past.

A call came in to emergency dispatchers around 12:10 p.m. that a hiker had fallen from the top of Glen Onoko Falls.  It originally was reported as a rescue operation.

"The first crew went up, the medic unit found the victim at the second falls," explained Jim Thorpe Deputy Fire Chief Vince Yaich.

Five different fire departments and three medical units responded to help.

"When they arrived there, they reported back that the victim was not breathing," Yaich shared.

He says unfortunately, that's when it changed from rescue to recovery.

Several groups of hikers witnessed the accident.

"There were people there yes," added Yaich. "They came running down to tell me where he was at."

It took a few hours, and a crew of about 16 to bring Crossley down from the falls.

They used ropes and climbing gear to get across the dangerous terrain.

"Rocky, slippery, trees blown down, it's very treacherous," explained Yaich.

State police troopers said Crossley and his friends were not properly dressed to be hiking in such a hazardous area.

A New York woman died in August after she fell from the falls, which are on state game lands adjoining Lehigh Gorge State Park.