A 35-year-old man died after falling into New York’s Ithaca Falls while trying to take a picture. According to authorities, the waterfall has been the site of several deaths over the past two decades.
On Oct.11, Harish C. Nekkalapu was climbing the base of the waterfall when he lost his balance and fell into a pool of water below. The Ithaca Police Department said that multiple people rushed to pull him to land. But when officers arrived, he was unconscious and not breathing.
While waiting for an ambulance to arrive, police attempted to resuscitate the victim. Paramedics gave further medical attention as they transported him to a hospital. However, Nekkalapu later died from “injuries sustained,” department spokesman Lt. Jacob Young said in a release.
Harish C. Nekkalapu was visiting western New York from Ontario, Canada, where he worked in an automotive manufacturing firm, according to his Linkedin profile.
The Waterfall Has Been the Site of Several Deaths in Recent Years
Officials determined that his death was accidental. And the release notes that several people have drowned beneath the waterfall in recent years, including a Cornell student who had earned his degree just one day before his death, reported The New York Times.
An incoming freshman also died in 2017 after swimming in the water and getting trapped in an eddy. And that death prompted multiple warnings from school officials as well as local authorities.
“Over the years, we’ve seen a number of accidents that happen in the gorges or in Cayuga Lake. They tend to happen when people are swimming in areas they shouldn’t because they cannot see currents and even though the water looks placid there are strong currents underneath, so if you enter a place that looks safe, the reality is you may not be,” said Professor Todd Cowen.
The university also posted a warning on its website that says multiple people have been injured in or near the 150 ft waterfall, and four others recently died. The warning also notes that it is illegal to swim in the surrounding Fall Creek and Cascadilla Creed.
“Violators are subject to arrest,” it says. “In addition, hiking off-trail presents falling concerns, a chance of rock and tree falls, and unstable gorge edges.”
The gorges near and below the waterfall were also the site of a string of Cornell student suicides in 2010. Though Ithaca Falls had already had a dangerous and heartbreaking reputation, three students jumped to their deaths in a matter of a month. Because of that, the university built temporary fences around the area to stop any further attempts.