University of Kentucky student falls to her death off 150-foot cliff in Red River Gorge

A 24-year-old University of Kentucky student who went hiking at Red River Gorge has been found dead at the bottom of a 150-foot cliff, authorities said. CBS affiliate WKYT reports that authorities identified the woman as Gabriella Smith, a second-year medical student from Alexandria, Ky. 

Powell County Search and Rescue said in a statement that the organization was notified Tuesday that the woman had gone hiking Monday and did not return. Crews were able to ping the woman’s phone and watch to get GPS coordinates and began searching for her in the Auxier Ridge area, the statement said.

“We did not get the results that we wanted,” officials said in a statement.

Authorities believe the woman got too close to the edge of the cliff and fell, Powell County Search and Rescue spokeswoman Lt. Lisa Johnson said.

She urged hikers to not get too close to cliff edges because they can give way when the ground is wet and can crumble when the ground is dry.

“You have trees that are coming down right now, limbs that are falling, the mud you slide in the mud on the trails and if you’re on the rocks, you’re going to slide, you’re going to slip and what I try to tell people is stay away from the edge,” Johnson told WKYT.

It was the second fall crews responded to at the gorge in 24 hours, Johnson said. A man fell Monday night from a nearby cliff and was taken to the University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington.

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