State

Man dies after falling more than 200 feet off a cliff at Red River Gorge

Inmates from the Three Forks Regional Jail and a Wolfe County road crew worked with search and rescue crews Tuesday to help recover the body of a man who fell an estimated 220 feet at the Red River Gorge.
Inmates from the Three Forks Regional Jail and a Wolfe County road crew worked with search and rescue crews Tuesday to help recover the body of a man who fell an estimated 220 feet at the Red River Gorge. Wolfe County Search and Rescue

A man died after falling an estimated 220 feet while camping at the Red River Gorge.

Wolfe County Coroner Frank Porter said Maxwell Harrison Suffridge, 32, of Louisville, was camping with another man who noticed that Suffridge was missing about 11 p.m. Monday.

John May, deputy coordinator of the Wolfe County Search and Rescue Team, said Suffridge’s friend told him that they were hammock camping at Hanson’s Point when the friend’s dog woke him up barking.

His friend tried to rappel down to Suffridge after the fall, but the friend got his hair and climbing gear caught while trying to climb down. The friend reportedly cut his hair to get himself loose, then fell about 20 feet before climbing back up and calling for help, May said.

The Wolfe County Search and Rescue Team said in a Facebook post that they were called to Hanson’s Point about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday and carried equipment over three miles to reach the fallen camper, who had died.

May said rescue crews reached the bottom of the cliff at about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday; it was hours later before Suffridge’s body was brought out.

May said the cliff is the tallest one he has been over in his years with the search and rescue team.

“It’s such a big cliff, and it’s covered with trees,” he said.

A county road crew and inmates from the Three Forks Regional Jail were brought to the scene to help clear a path for the rescuers and to help with the removal of the body, he said.

“Those guys were a lifesaver,” May said.

Search and rescue team members from Wolfe, Menifee, Lee and Powell counties, along with the Middle Fork Fire Department, responded to the scene, which was in Wolfe County, the Wolfe County Search and Rescue Team said.

Porter said the crews had to get to the scene, near Pinch-Em Tight Holler, from Powell County.

Investigators told WKYT that they believe the campers had been drinking, which is prohibited in the Daniel Boone National Forest.

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