Burke County Search and Rescue

Crews with Burke County Search and Rescue watch while a helicopter with the NC Helo Aquatic Rescue Team flies over the Linville Gorge on Saturday, April 17, in response to incident in which a man fell to his death.

LINVILLE FALLS — On Saturday, April 17 at approximately 12:32 p.m., Burke County Search and Rescue responded to a report of a long fall in the area of Babel Tower.

Burke County EMS, Burke County Emergency Management and US Forest Service Law Enforcement also responded and established command at the Babel Tower trailhead.

According to BCSR, technical rescue crews hiked more than a mile in to the incident location, but the victim was deceased upon arrival. NCHART (Helo Aquatic Rescue Team) assisted in the victim’s recovery. The incident is currently under investigation by the US Forest Service.

“Our deepest condolences go to the family of the victim,” Burke County Search and Rescue said in a social media post about the incident.

According to Burke County EMS Capt. Brad Browning, it is believed the victim fell about 40 to 60 feet. Browning said the man, who looked to be in his late 50s, had been hiking with his son and appeared to have decided to climb part of the Babel Tower. Browning added that no ropes were used and he did not believe the man had originally intended to climb the tower when he and his son set off to hike in the gorge.

Additional emergency departments that assisted on the call included units from Burke, Avery and McDowell counties, as well as the NCHART Team and NC Emergency Management.

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