A Gahanna man has become the second hiker to die this summer at a state outdoors area in the Hocking Hills.
Alexander Cristin Colson, 22, died Saturday after he fell from a cliff while hiking on an overlook trail for the Lower Falls in the Old Man’s Cave area, Ohio Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Maureen Kocot said.
According to witnesses, Colson was standing on the trail with his back to the cliff’s edge when he took a step backward, lost his footing and fell approximately 75 feet.
Colson was flown to Fairfield Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead. The incident is under investigation.
In June, authorities recovered the body of a 55-year-old woman in a remote section of the Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve near Hocking Hills State Park.
In addition to the two deaths, ODNR officers have conducted four rope-team rescues this year.
Over Memorial Day weekend, three hikers fell over cliffs or waterfalls and were severely injured. Two of those incidents occurred simultaneously, and the hikers involved had to be retrieved by rope teams made up of ODNR officers and Hocking County fire and EMS personnel.
As one rope team was preparing to extract one hiker, it got a call saying it was needed at the site of another incident at Conkles Hollow in which a man slipped off a ledge while trying to take a selfie.
ODNR officials said visitors should remember to stay on trails, wear proper footwear and pay close attention to where they are walking.