Woman dies in fall from waterfall at Pa. park

Woman falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park
August 12, 2013 7:05:19 AM PDT
An autopsy is scheduled on a woman who died after falling from a waterfall at Lehigh Gorge State Park in eastern Pennsylvania.

Authorities say 31-year-old New York resident Perla Cabral was hiking with someone else when she fell about 40 feet from the Glen Onoko Falls in Lehigh Township around 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Carbon County Coroner Bruce Nalesnik says she was initially responsive when emergency workers arrived, but died as they were taking her out of the park.

An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

Each summer, the beauty of Glen Onoko Falls lures thousands of hikers to the Gorge near Jim Thorpe. "There are several falls, but the biggest is about 70 feet," Jerry McAward, who owns nearby Jim Thorpe River Adventures, told WFMZ-TV. "It happens a lot, not so much people falling off the falls, but falling during the falls hike," McAward said.

Dangerous rescues are common -- so common that Jim Thorpe recently launched a controversial move to charge insurance carriers to cover rescuers' growing costs.

The fire chief said last fall that constant rescue calls from tourists were overburdening borough taxpayers.

"[Rescue crews] are here all the time, and they're not paid," McAward said.

As tempting as this 900 foot climb is, McAward believes it might be time to close access to the Gorge.

"Glen Onoko Falls is not a hike for the faint of heart," he said. "Undeveloped, unmarked, no steps, no bridges."

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