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Pennsylvania man dies at Crabtree Falls in Nelson County

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A Pennsylvania man was killed Sunday, May 22 when he slipped and fell at Crabtree Falls in Nelson County, authorities said.

Leonard Zimmerman, 22, of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, was pronounced dead after Nelson County Sheriff’s Office and emergency medical services responders located his body, said Investigator Jeremy Tabler, of the sheriff’s office.

Witnesses were on scene when the incident occurred mid-afternoon, Tabler said when reached for comment May 26.

Emergency responders had to use ropes and equipment to recover the body, which was taken to Richmond for an autopsy, Tabler said. An investigation is ongoing, but Tabler said foul play isn’t suspected.

Crabtree Falls, the highest vertical-drop cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River, is a major tourist attraction in Nelson County just six miles off the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway near milepost 27, according to the county’s website.

More than 30 people have died at Crabtree Falls since the U.S. Forest Service began tracking the incidents in 1982.

While rocks sticking out of the water offer spectacular views, most are covered with clear, slippery algae that can be treacherous for someone walking on them. The five cascades plummet a total of 1,200 feet, according to the Forest Service’s website.

— Justin Faulconer

— Justin Faulconer


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