Man Dies After Fall Off of North Carolina’s Grandfather Mountain

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Pgiam/Getty Images)

A man died recently after a tragic fall from Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. The 56-year-old, Todd Buckman of New Hampshire, was reported missing after he didn’t return from the mountain around 10 am. According to WSOC-TV, he was in North Carolina visiting his sister, and decided to take a trip to Grandfather Mountain.

Buckman was on a hiking trail with his sister and headed to an overlook on the mountain. There, he fell over 100 feet. Search crews took about 45 minutes to retrieve his body after he was located at the bottom of a cliff. According to the Avery County Sheriff’s Office, Buckman’s fall appeared to be an accident.

Park visitor Jose Morales spoke with WSOC-TV about safety on the trails and how his family prepares for hikes at Grandfather Mountain. “I think that when you’re up here in the mountains, falling is a very real possibility,” said Morales. “You feel like you can and that’s why you respect the distance.”

Additionally, hiker Sandra Buttram shared that even experienced hikers can fall on a dangerous trail. “Especially here around Grandfather Mountain, slippery trails and a lot of rock ledges,” said Buttram. “So the trails are dangerous if you’re not watching what you’re doing.”

Hiker Who Fell From Cliff in Wisconsin Rescued By Firefighters

On Oct. 22, a hiker set out for Peninsula State Park in Wisconsin, aiming for a simple, relaxing day of hiking the trails. But, as the day turned late, the 32-year-old hiker lost her footing and slipped on Eagle Trail, near Eagle Tower. She fell 30 to 40 feet below the trail, but luckily there were witnesses to her predicament.

Bystanders were unable to get the injured hiker out of the park safely, but they did assist in directing emergency crews to her location.

“The bystanders down below who saw her, or if it were her friends, they made their way up to her,” Fire Chief Andy Bertges told Fox 11. “I don’t know how they found this trail or how they created this little trail to get to her. But they made their way to her, and then from there, they had people waiting for our first responders and led them up to her, which cut off a lot of time in the operation.”

The Gibraltar Fire and Rescue Association detailed the rescue mission on its Facebook page after the fact. First responders weren’t contacted until about 5:30 pm, and they had to deal with difficult terrain and waning daylight. The hiker also wasn’t on a designated trail. She fell below the trail into an area that made the rescue “extremely challenging.”

“Very labor intensive. This wasn’t a one- or two-man operation,” said Fire Chief Justin MacDonald. “We were looking at four to five to six to eight guys in lines being with the patient and moving the patient along.”

Eventually, after three hours, the injured hiker was brought out of the park and loaded up on a boat. She was then transferred to an ambulance which took her to a local hospital.