Monday, December 12, 2011

Purdue University Student Falls, Dies at State Park in Ohio

William Beinlich, 18, friends, his girlfriend and her parents experienced tragedy yesterday (December 11) at Old Man's Cave in Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio, after Beinlich deviated from marked trails, slipped on ice and fell to his death down a gorge. He was a student at Purdue University.

COMMENT: Unfortunately, the scenic park can be dangerous when temperatures drop, and even when they don't drop, as demonstrated by the many warning signs to remain on marked trails. Other signs warn visitors not to enter because of the risks known all too well among staff at the park.

Park rangers commented that besides ignoring marked signage, Beinlich was also not wearing proper footwear, particularly inside the cave, where ice cleats are essential.

Beinlich's death is the fifth accidental death at Old Man's Cave in the last ten years.

Particularly for our non-US readers, following safety rules at US parks and those elsewhere around the world is very important. Foreign visitors to the US will also discover that most US parks have brochures in a number of languages to reduce accidents.

One strong recommendation for all visitors at any park worldwide is to ask questions of park staff concerning safety issues, in order to avoid accidents. Such a discussion can save lives.

As many of our readers may recall, a European couple died in August (2011) at Joshua Tree National Park of heat exposure because they had taken a wrong road and did not have a sufficient supply of water.

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