Liberty University Student Dies after Crabtree Falls Hiking Accident

Posted: Updated:

UPDATE: The Nelson County Sheriff's Office has identified 18-year-old Faith Helbig as the student who died at Crabtree Falls on Monday.

A hiking accident turned fatal in Nelson County Monday night.

Authorities say a young woman fell at Crabtree Falls, which is located in the George Washington National Forest - a short distance off Crabtree Falls Highway near Tyro.

Police say a group of about five Liberty University students were hiking when one of them fell, around 5 p.m. Rescue crews were not called until just before 6 p.m. because there is no cell service on the mountain and group members had to hike back down to get help.

Montebello Rescue and Wintergreen's rope team responded. They retrieved the body and made the hike down around 8 p.m.

The Nelson County Sheriff's Office is handling the investigation.

The young woman's identity has not yet been released because her family has not yet been notified. It is currently unclear exactly how the woman fell.

One woman who lives nearby says this happens far too often.

"There should be more awareness about how dangerous it is here," said Mary Bryant. "I'm not sure what the exact count is - how many have fallen - and there's no special age group; it's anyone. People want to explore and get closer, and that's normally their biggest mistake."

Officials call Crabtree Falls the highest vertical-drop cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi. The U.S. Forest Service says barriers, fences and signs are clear indications of the danger from the falls' slippery rocks and vertical plunges.

At least 28 people have died at Crabtree Falls.