Sadly, not all SAR operations end successfully, such as this one.
Victim recoveries are the one part of this job we hate. But, for the victims’ loved ones and family, we must respectfully and carefully recover remains – often from very inaccessible locations.The Red River Gorge experienced six fatal accidents in a 12-month period through 2008 and 2009.
Reprinted from THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Tuesday, February 17, 2009 3:00 AM
By Dana Wilson
POWELL — Avid outdoorsman Ronald Trick had hiked the rugged trails of the Red River Gorge many times.
The gorge in eastern Kentucky deep in the Daniel Boone National Forest is a popular destination for rock climbers and was among Trick’s favorite places. Early Sunday morning, the 63-year-old left his home in Powell and drove to Kentucky, where he planned to hike and stay overnight in a lodge at Natural Bridge State Park.That afternoon, while hiking alone in an area of the gorge known as Haystack Rock, Trick apparently lost his footing and fell 165 feet to his death, said Cumberland District Ranger Dave Manner.”It appeared that he was taking a break at the top of a cliff and possibly slipped and fell,” Manner said. “There were other hikers in the vicinity that heard him yell.”Witnesses alerted U.S. Forest Service officers at 1:45 p.m., Officer Hershal Neal said yesterday. Investigators found Trick’s hiking stick and waist pack at the top of the cliff, which led them to believe that Trick was resting when he fell. There was no evidence of foul play.Neal said Trick was on a well-marked walking trail with some hills and rock formations that require careful maneuvering. Trick was nearly two miles from the trailhead when he fell, Neal said.The gorge’s sandstone cliff lines and overhangs can be treacherous terrain, even for experienced hikers, Manner said. “I’m sure he’d probably been there before,” he said. “It’s just an unfortunate situation.”Trick, a retired architect, volunteered as a naturalist at Highbanks Metro Park in Lewis Center, where he led a two-mile winter hike Saturday, said Kim Leach, a park naturalist.He hiked regularly at the park and was a dependable volunteer, logging more than 120 service hours last year. He always seemed happy to help, Leach said. “It’s still such a shock,” she said of his death.Relatives say Trick was an experienced hiker who shared his enthusiasm for the outdoors with his family. He and his wife, Sheryl, recently traveled to Yellowstone National Park, and Trick enjoyed taking his grandchildren on hikes.His travels inspired him to write poetry documenting his observations and his fascination with nature.”He loved exploring and adventure,” said daughter Natalie Cenci, 40, of Lewis Center.