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University of Kentucky student falls to her death off a cliff in Red River Gorge

By Rebekah Riess, CNN

Updated: Wed, 05 May 2021 21:40:52 GMT

Source: CNN

A University of Kentucky student was found dead at the bottom of a 150-foot cliff in the Red River Gorge on Wednesday, two days after she went hiking and did not return home, the local search and rescue said.

The 24-year-old student had fallen off the cliff in the Auxier Ridge area of the gorge, Powell County Search and Rescue said in a Facebook post.

"We are deeply saddened to share the news that Gabby Smith, a second-year medical student here at the University of Kentucky, passed away while on a hike at Red River Gorge," University of Kentucky College of Medicine Dean Robert DiPaola said in a statement.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family during this difficult time. Gabby was a kind, devoted student, and we will miss having her on our campus. This is a tragic loss for our college community, especially for our medical students. We are here to offer support in whatever way that we can, and counseling services are available to our students," DiPaola said.

Search and rescue members were able to ping Smith's phone and watch to get GPS coordinates and started the search in the Auxier Ridge area Tuesday.

"We did not get the results that we wanted," Powell County Search and Rescue said in the post.

It was the second fall Powell County Search and Rescue crews have responded to at the Red River Gorge in a span of 24 hours.

Monday night, a man fell nearly 60 feet off a sheer cliff also in the Auxier Ridge area and was taken to the University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington with injuries to his spine and pelvis, according to another post from Powell County Search and Rescue.


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