An Oregon father of five fell to his death while hiking along the popular Multnomah Falls trail outside of Portland, authorities say.
Multnomah County Sheriff’s Deputy John Plock told KPTV that the dad from Beaverton – who has not been publicly identified – fell about 150 feet near a switchback on the trail on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s pretty steep on the edge and that’s where he fell,” Plock said.
Police described the father as having five children between elementary and high school age who were in the area at the time of the fall.
“Mom, dad, five kids all here enjoying a beautiful day at Multnomah Falls and unfortunately a tragic accident happened,” Plock told KPTV. “At one point on the trail, the father slipped and fell down an embankment.”
What caused the father to fall is not immediately clear.
Plock also told KPTV that a drone was used to find the father, but it was a search party down below that found him. He was declared dead at the scene after being located 45 minutes into the search.
“They weren’t able to see anything from the air,” Plock said. “Our deputies from the ground were able to locate him.”
The Corbett Fire District and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office both responded to the scene before the man was declared dead.
The 620-foot-high Multnomah Falls is a popular tourist destination and is the highest waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
“Multnomah Falls is the most visited natural recreation site in the Pacific Northwest with more than 2 million visitors stopping by each year to take in the views,” the Forest Service says. “Fed by underground springs from Larch Mountain, the flow over the falls varies, but is usually highest during the winter and spring seasons. This is also one of the best places in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area to study geology exposed by floods.”
Last August, Jessica Warejoncas, 62, of Minnesota, died after suffering “a head injury after falling near Wiesendanger Falls in the Columbia River Gorge,” according to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
“The woman was hiking with a group of friends on the Multnomah Falls-Larch Mountain Trail, #441. It is estimated the hiker fell approximately 100 feet,” it said at the time.