A Massachusetts man fell 150 feet to his death while rock climbing in New Hampshire. Authorities say a large falling rock cut through his climbing rope leading to the fall.
Benjamin Kessel, a 34-year-old from Somerville, Massachusetts, died Sunday afternoon. He was rock climbing Cannon Cliff in Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire when the accident happened.
The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department said in a statement on Tuesday that a “rock the size of a refrigerator” became dislodged above Kessel.
“The rock then slid over the climbing rope, severing it and knocking the climber approximately 150 feet down the cliff before becoming lodged in small spruce trees,” the department said.
Recovery Effort for Rock Climber
His climbing partner, who was not hurt, called 911 following the fall. Around an hour and a half later, his climbing crew, as well as rescue teams, found his body.
Authorities say the recovery effort was delayed due to the dwindling daylight and the area’s temperature dropping until early the next day. Monday morning, Kessel’s body was retrieved.
Kessel’s family says about 30 people aided in the recovery effort.
Kessel worked as a control systems engineer at Ivenix. He was also reportedly an “avid rock climber” who traveled the world doing such, says his uncle, Martin Kessel.
“He was obviously running circles around us in the outdoors field, but when he was with his uncles and his aunts and his mother, he would always be very happy to stay back with us, not run ahead, and be very patient,” Martin Kessel. “Just loved to be with us and have the experience together.”
Kessel’s aunt, Beverly Rich, thanks rescue workers for returning his body to the family, saying she is “immensely grateful.” She goes onto add that he usually climbed solo but knew it was riskier, so he decided to pair up.
“He was very meticulous about his safety,” Rich said. “He had the best equipment and was always very, very careful. Unfortunately, there’s nothing he could have done to prevent what happened.”
[H/T New York Post]