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One dead, another hospitalized after seperate falls in Hocking Hills State Park

LOGAN – A spokesman with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said that off-duty emergency personnel who were hiking in the area at the time of Saturday’s accidents in the Hocking Hills State Park were the first to respond and remained with fall victims until emergency crews arrived.

Nineteen-year old Josias Rodriguez, a sophomore at Ohio Christian University, fell to his death at Old Man’s Cave at approximately 3:30 p.m. Saturday. The fall was reportedly witnessed by several people, including those in his church group.

ODNR spokesman Matt Eiselstein said Rodriguez ventured off the posted hiking trail and lost his footing.

Later Saturday evening, 22-year-old Meg Beasley of Chillicothe was hiking on the trail with a friend at Cantwell Cliffs when she also lost her footing and fell 100 feet.

She survived the fall, but had extensive injuries and was flown to Grant Hospital in Columbus. She reportedly underwent surgery Saturday, and remained in the Intensive Care Unit Sunday evening, according to a hospital spokesperson.

A friend who was hiking with Beasley when she fell reported that she's expected to make a full recovery.

In both instances, off-duty or retired emergency personnel who were hiking in the area - including an off-duty doctor, nurse and retired police officer - offered medical assistance until emergency crews arrived.

An off-duty doctor attempted to resuscitate Rodriguez after the fall, but to no avail, noted Hocking County Coroner David Cummin, who pronounced Rodriguez dead at the scene.

In response to the teen's death, Ohio Christian University canceled semester finals on Monday and is holding a memorial service at 1 p.m. on Monday in Detty Chapel.

*Editor's note: Gretchen Gregory is the news editor at The Logan Daily News.


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