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Dislodged Rock-Fall, Rope Severed, Pennsylvania, Delaware Water Gap, National Recreation Area, Mount Minsi


Pennsylvania, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Mount Minsi

On the afternoon of March 26, Daniel O’Malley, Tim Feitzinger, and Jeff Sukenick decided to take advantage of the nice weather to go rock climbing on Mount Minsi. O’Malley and Feitzinger began climbing an established route. Sukenick waited for his companions at the base of the pitch. During the climb, O’Malley evidently dislodged a large rock, which knocked him off the mountain. Feitzinger was in the process of catching him when the climbing rope was severed by the falling boulder. O’Malley fell another 130 to 150 feet to the talus slope below. Sukenick heard the rock hit the ground near him. When he checked it, he came upon O’Malley. Sukenick detected shallow respirations and a soft pulse. He ran down across the talus field to a nearby highway and stood in the road until a vehicle stopped. The driver notified the county dispatch center via her cellular phone. Sukenick then returned to O’Malley and began administering CPR. Rangers and paramedics arrived on scene about 40 minutes after the fall and determined that O’Malley had died. The park’s high angle rescue team, comprised of rangers and representatives from the Pennsylvania and New Jersey forestry services and New Jersey state parks, worked themselves into a position above Feitzinger, who was stranded on the cliff, and assisted him in climbing to the top of the rock face. Team members and fire and rescue personnel from several other agencies then removed O’Malley’s body via a belayed carry-out down the talus slope in the dark. The response involved about 60 people from seven agencies. (Source: Ed Whitaker, DR, Pennsylvania District)