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Climber dies after 30-foot fall at North Carolina park, officials say

Simone Jasper
·1 min read

A 39-year-old man died after plummeting about 30 feet at a North Carolina park, officials say.

The man was climbing without gear before he fell Sunday afternoon at Hanging Rock State Park, according to Katie Hall, spokesperson for the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation.

Officials say the man was in a no-climb area near the park’s namesake rock feature. Park rangers, Stokes County EMS and the Danbury Volunteer Fire Department were among those who rushed in to help after the fall, Hall told McClatchy News in a phone interview.

The man, later identified as William Michael Smith, died at the scene. He is from Lawsonville, an area in Stokes County and near Hanging Rock State Park, according to officials.

It’s not the first time tragedy has struck at the site.

In 2017, a 17-year-old died after plunging off a cliff in the park, according to WBTV, The Charlotte Observer’s media partner.

Teenagers were also rushed to hospitals after falls at the site in 2018 and 2020, the Observer and WGHP reported.