Parents killed when family tumbles from cliff in New York
GOWANDA, N.Y. (AP) — A family hike around a New York state gorge turned tragic when a mother and father fell off a cliff and were killed and their 4-year-old son was seriously hurt, authorities said.
The bodies of Amanda Green, 35, and William Green, 33, both of Buffalo, were discovered Sunday along with their injured son, Alexander, in the Zoar Valley Gorge, authorities said.
Rescue crews also found sneakers and footprints that were too large for the 4-year-old and began a search. Eventually they found the couple’s 7-year-old son, Jacob, walking nearby, officials said.
The 4-year-old was airlifted to a Buffalo hospital, where he was listed in guarded condition Monday with internal injuries, fractures and a head injury, Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard said.
His brother was taken to the same hospital for a broken right arm and ankle. He was listed in good condition, the sheriff said.
Authorities believe the two parents and child fell about 200 feet (60 meters) down a steep cliff, but they are not sure what caused the fall. Police continue to investigate.
Hikers came upon the adults’ bodies, Howard said. The injured 4-year-old was nearby, he said.
“The first two hikers who found the bodies did not have a cellphone,” Howard said. “They flagged down a third hiker who made the call.”
A sheriff’s helicopter landed on the gorge floor and evacuated the 4-year-old. A sheriff’s detective found the injured 7-year-old around five hours later, according to sheriff’s spokesman Scott Zylka.
It was not known yet if the older boy also fell along with his parents and brother, Zylka said.
The Zoar Valley, 35 miles (56 kilometers) south of Buffalo, is a popular hiking and kayaking spot, with scenic cliffs as high as 400 feet (122 meters) and the whitewater Cattaraugus Creek running through the gorge.
The gorge has been the scene of several rescue operations in recent years after hikers got hurt or lost.
“It’s sheer. It’s drops straight down,” Zylka said of the area where the family was found.