A man died in a rock climbing accident Sunday in New Hampshire after a large rock severed his rope.
Benjamin Kessel, 34, of Sommerville, Mass., was climbing on Cannon Cliff in Franconia Notch State Park when the accident occurred, authorities said.
According to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, witnesses called 911 around 4 p.m. to report a climber had fallen after a rock became dislodged and cut his climbing rope.
Search and rescue workers began searching the base of the cliff as climbers descended from the point Kessel fell and found his body at 5:30 p.m.
Recovery efforts were suspended before sunset and Kessel’s body was recovered Monday morning.
“It was determined by rescuers, who had observed the area, that a rock the size of a refrigerator had dislodged as the climber approached from below,” New Hampshire Fish and Game said. “The rock then slid over the climbing rope, severing it and knocking the climber approximately 150 feet down the cliff before becoming lodged in some small spruce trees.”
Kessel was described as an avid outdoors enthusiast who had traveled the world, family members said.
“He was very meticulous about his safety,” said Beverly Rich, Kessel’s aunt, told The Boston Globe. “He had the best equipment, and he was always very, very careful. Unfortunately, there’s nothing he could have done to prevent what happened.”
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