JIM THORPE, Pa. - Rescue crews snapped into action Monday afternoon at a popular hiking spot in Carbon County.
Officials say a Lehigh County man fell more than 30-feet to his death while hiking with a small group of friends at Lehigh Gorge State Park.
The incident happened around 12:10 p.m. near Glen Onoko Falls.
State Police say 20-year-old Jesse Crossley lost his footing and slipped from a trail near the second waterfall.
The Catasauqua man plunged 30 to 40 feet onto the rocks below, and he didn't make it.
Troopers say the incident is under investigation, but the death doesn't appear to be suspicious.
Local officials hope this tragedy serves as a wake-up call.
The beauty of Glen Onoko Falls lures folks to Lehigh Gorge State Park year round.
"The hike is nice, it's a good workout and the falls are awesome," described Mary Herrmann. "It's breathtaking, it's almost indescribable."
But officials say the scenic hike can quickly turn into a scary situation.
The falls have a perilous reputation.
"If you are not experienced, you really should not be in an area like this," Jim Thorpe Fire Department Deputy Chief Vince Yaich explained. "It is unbelievably dangerous."
The area near the falls is steep and hazardous, and most of it is covered with rocks which can be very slippery.
The trails are not maintained, and local authorities tell us they see too many reckless hikers come to the area unprepared for the terrain.
"It's all posted telling you how dangerous and treacherous it is, to wear the proper footwear," Yaich shared. "Ninety percent of the people that we bring down off the mountain wearing flip flops, wearing sneakers. They don't have the proper footwear."
And unfortunately, tough rescues and even body recoveries happen at Glen Onoko Falls all too often.
"We're up here nearly every weekend," added Yaich.
Officials say people need to use common sense when attempting to hike near the falls.
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