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May 26, 2016

Pa. teen dead, hiker badly hurt in fall

By Frank Warner and Manuel Gamiz Jr
The Morning Call

LEHIGH TOWNSHIP, Pa. — An 18-year-old Nazareth man was killed and an Allentown friend seriously hurt Wednesday afternoon when they slipped and fell 50 feet from the top of Glen Onoko Falls in Carbon County, police said.

Rahman Mustafa Hassan died. Fadi Abboud, 19, was taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in critical condition. State police said Abboud's injuries are life-threatening.

Hassan was a sophomore at Penn State Lehigh Valley, the university said. Abboud is a junior at the same campus.

Hassan and Abboud were dangling their legs over a ledge and picnicking at the top of the falls at 12:15 p.m. when the accident happened, state Trooper James J. Surmick said. They and three other friends had been hiking together in the day's warm sunshine.

A water bottle was dropped; both men reached for it and slipped, Surmick said. They plunged to the base of the falls, which are in State Game Lands 141 in Lehigh Township.

Hassan died on impact, the trooper said. He was pronounced dead at 3:37 p.m. by Carbon County Deputy Coroner Donna Kemmerle.

The rescue operation for Abboud began immediately, emergency dispatchers said. Jim Thorpe firefighters were assisted by several other fire companies, ambulance crews and a helicopter.

Hassan and Abboud fell from the second falls, which are considered the highest at Glen Onoko, dispatchers said.

Penn State said the Lehigh Valley campus will provide counseling services from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday. Students and staff can request support by calling 610-285-5077.

"We are deeply saddened to learn of the heartbreaking loss of our student and the injuries of another in this tragic accident," said Tina Q. Richardson, Penn State Lehigh Valley chancellor. "Our hearts are with the family and friends of both Rahman and Fadi.

"The Penn State Lehigh Valley community is mourning Rahman's death and hoping for Fadi to make a full recovery."

Glen Onoko is a popular hiking area, but its three waterfalls have been the scene of dozens of serious accidents over the years. Two years ago, a 20-year-old Catasauqua man fell to his death from the second falls.

No official record is kept, but accounts by authorities and news agencies indicate at least 11 hikers have died in the Lehigh Gorge since the late 1970s, and most of the deaths have occurred at Glen Onoko.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Copyright 2016 The Morning Call


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