The Ithaca Fire Department (IFD) pulled the body of a white male from Fall Creek near North Campus yesterday afternoon. The identity of the victim and the nature of the incident remain unknown, according to Linda Grace-Kobas, interim vice president for communications and media relations.
Responding to multiple phone calls from witnesses who said they saw a person fall off the Stewart Ave. bridge, the IFD arrived on the scene at 1:39 p.m. Emergency response personnel recovered a body approximately two and a half hours later. Rescue efforts were delayed due to grim weather conditions.
“Due to the severe cold temperatures and the amount of ice and snow in the gorge, the only way to retrieve the victim was to repel off the Stewart Ave. bridge straight into the gorge and set up a raising system to bring the victim straight up out of the gorge,” according to a written statement sent out by the IFD last night.
The statement went on to describe the rescue as “labor intensive” and explained, “Firefighters ascending into the gorge on ropes had to wear ‘dry suits’ to protect themselves from the severe wind chill and ice conditions in the gorge.”
Once the body was recovered, it was rushed to Cayuga Medical Center in a Bangs Ambulance, according to Grace-Kobas.
The Ithaca Police Department is leading the investigation into the cause of death and the identity of the victim with aid from the Cornell Police Department, according to Grace-Kobas.
Archived article by Sun Staff