Second hiker falls to death this year
Newburgh man slips on ice on upper portion
HAINES FALLS >> A 30-year-old Newburgh man fell to his death at the Kaaterskill Falls on Saturday afternoon, according to state police at Catskill.
Anthony Miele was hiking with a friend near the upper portion of the 260-foot, two-drop falls when he slipped on ice and fell about 120 feet, trooper Christian Quinn said.
Quinn said Miele had gone off the normal trail and was trying to walk across a treacherous area covered with ice and moss at the time of the accident. Miele was pronounced dead at the scene.
Quinn said he was unsure if Miele had gone around safety fencing the state Department of Environmental Conservation installed at the top of the falls in 2014 and 2015.
Quinn said most of the time there’s an accident, people enter this area to try to take a picture either down the falls or up towards the mountain and lose their footing. But Quinn said he did not know for sure if Miele was attempting to take a photograph.
Saturday’s death was the second reported at the falls this year.
Late in July, 17-year-old Ezra Kennedy of Westfield, N.J., fell to his death while hiking with friends and relatives.
Two women from Dutchess County fell to their deaths at the falls in the summer of 2014, leading to the installation of protective fences at the top of the upper falls.
Public access to Kaaterskill Falls was restricted in the summer of 2015 while the DEC made $450,000 in improvements to enhance safety and upgrade trails. State police Senior Investigator Peter Kusminsky said in July the safety improvements were made to the upper falls, but not to the area where Kennedy fell.
The changes to the upper falls included a new trail with a 200-step stone staircase.
Kaaterskill Falls is one of America’s oldest tourist attractions and is immortalized in Hudson River School paintings and Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle.”