New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers recovered two bodies in separate incidents in Upstate New York on Monday, February 13th. In the first, a woman’s body was recovered from Niagara Falls Gorge.
Several hours later Rangers recovered the body of a snowmobilier killed when his sled hit a tree in the Adirondacks.
At about 1:30 pm, Forest Ranger Cordell was contacted by New York State Police Aviation for a hoist mission at Niagara Falls. A 34-year-old and her five-year-old son, both from Illinois, fell from a 90-foot cliff into the Niagara River gorge at Niagara Falls State Park in the City of Niagara Falls.
“The investigation is still ongoing at this time, but we don’t believe it was an accident,” New York State Parks Police Captain Chris Rola told reporters.
While flying to the scene, Ranger Cordell found out the child was rescued by ground personnel and taken to the hospital, but the mother was deceased. Park police and the Niagara Falls Fire Department personnel said they traversed some 300 feet of “dangerous icy terrain” to reach the woman and her son.
Rescuers said the child was carried to a waiting ambulance and transported to John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital in Buffalo. New York State Park Police said Tuesday that the child had undergone surgery and was in critical condition.
Ranger Cordell and State Police conducted a hoist mission to recover the woman’s body, which was turned over to the Niagara County Coroner’s office.
Later that same day, at about 6 pm, the father of a missing 31-year-old called Forest Ranger Miller explaining that his son had not been seen since the day before, Sunday, February 12th. The 31-year-old from Raquette Lake, in the town of Long Lake in Hamilton County, had taken his snowmobile for a ride.
Ranger Lieutenant Kerr joined Rangers Miller and Temple in the search. DEC’s Ray Brook dispatch office pinged the subject’s phone and Ranger Miller located the subject deceased next to the snowmobile. The snowmobile hit an embankment and a tree resulting in the death. His body was turned over to the coroner.
Snowmobile trail conditions have been unusually icy in recent weeks in the Adirondacks.
Photo: Niagara Falls State Park (State Parks Photo).