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February 21, 2016

Cliff Jumping Deaths In 2015

There are far to many cliff jumping deaths yearly. Education about water safety is the best way to prevent loss of life. Learn from the situations of the past to protect your future.

April 8th, 2015 – Jesse Yuth – 18 – Of Long Beach, Ca. – 50’ Cliff – Hermit Falls in Angeles National  Forest, La Canada Flintridge, California  

 Yuth jumped while holding hands with a female; reports say he may  have hit a rock beneath the water’s surface.  As the two jumpers hit the water, they were immediately in trouble.  The female instantly started drowning possibly due to Cold Shock Response in the frigid April waters.  Jesse, even though injured from possibly striking a rock, struggled to help his friend stay afloat, this allowed his cousin enough time to come to her aid and bring her to shore.  Jesse Yuth’s efforts saved her life that day; tragically though, he lost his. As his cousin rescued the female, Jesse succumbed to the water and his injury.  Jesse Yuth was a senior at Long Beach Polytechnic High School and a member of the ROTC with plans to join the Army.

April 12th, 2015 – Dr. Michael D. Pezze – 25 – Of Scottsdale, Az. – 20′ Cliff –  Saguaro Lake near Sandy Beach in Arizona  –

 Michael reportedly leapt from a rock 20 feet high into the waters of Saguaro Lake near Sandy Beach.  He hit the water and never resurfaced.  Reports state it was an accidental drowning.  No alcohol was related.  Dr. Michael Pezze was a 2013 graduate of The University of Pittsburgh, School Of Pharmacy and a Phi Delta Chi fraternity member.         

April 24th, 2015 – Oscar Fuentes – 16 – Of Apple Valley Ca. -50’ Cliff – Deep Creek Hot Springs, San Bernardino National Forest, California

Oscar was on an outing with a few friends to the Deep Creek Hot Springs- a hard to reach, hiking and Cliff Jumping location.  He leapt from a 50- foot cliff, and after hitting the water, never resurfaced.  After rescue was called, a diver found Oscar Fuentes quickly.  He was flown to Loma Linda Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. Oscar was a Sophomore at Apple Valley High School and starred at several positions for his high school football squad.

June 6th, 2015 – Marco Reyes-Sanchez – 21 – Of Reston, Va. – Sandy Landing Potomac River, Virginia/Maryland border

Marco Reyes-Sanchez was swimming, possibly cliff jumping, with a friend when the current swept him away as he crossed the Susquehanna River.  A group of Kayakers attempted a rescue but were unsuccessful.  His family and locals searched for his body for weeks.  His family has set up a memorial fund in his name and continue to suffer with their loss.  If you would like to help this family out please visit their gofundme page here.. Marco Reyes-Sanches Memorial Fund

June 4th, 2015 – Jameson Kawika Pasigan – 18 – Originally from Hawaii, lived in Las Vegas at the time – Swimming across a Cove –  Morning Star Cove, Nelson’s Landing, Arizona

Jameson was swimming across a cove in Nelson’s Landing, Arizona.  He disappeared under the water and did not resurface.  According to the family, he had no bruising or injuries.  His death may have been due to exhaustion.  Jameson was a football star throughout high school- accomplishing many feats.  Jameson was expecting a son, Journey Kahoku Pasigan.  A benefit has been set up for him and his mother; please donate to the link below to help this family in their time of loss. Journey Kahoku Pasigan Support

June 8th, 2015 – Zachery Goolesby – 15 – Of Jackson County, Alabama – 110’ Cliff – Desoto Falls, Alabama

Zachery had visited the falls this day with his friends. He leapt from a 110- foot cliff, standing just above the 104- foot Desoto Falls.  He hit the water and never resurfaced.  Zachery Goolesby was a member of track and field, the Robotics Team, the Math Team, and Spanish and History Clubs.  Zachery had just received an academic scholarship to Jackson State University.  His family has set up a fund for their loss in Zachary’s name.  You can go to any FNB Bank Branch location and contribute to the “Donna Moore for Zach Goolesby” cause.

June 12th, 2015 – Julian Lujan – 22 – Of Fort Collins Colorado – Unknown Height – Seaman Reservoir, Colorado

Julian had been with friends enjoying some Cliff Jumping at the reservoir when he fell from the cliffs to his death.  Julian Lujan was a recent graduate from Colorado State University with big plans for his future.  His family has set up a fund in his name.  If you would like to donate, please follow this link… Julian Lujan Fund

June 13th, 2015 – Jeremias Guzman – 22 – Of North Bergen, formerly of Jersey City, New Jersey – Eastern Industries Quarry in Lower Mount Bethel Township, Pennsylvania

As many as 70 swimmers were at the location when Jeremias Guzman leapt from a 30 to 50- foot cliff above the deep waters.  Jeremias resurfaced shortly and then disappeared, staying under for 55 minutes before a rescue team was able to find him.  He was rushed to a local area hospital where he died.

June 14th, 2015 – Jose Onofre Molina Jr. – 29 – Of Mohave Valley Arizona – 30’ Cliff – Laughlin Cliffs, Arizona

According to witnesses, Jose had been drinking with some friends and decided to dive from a cliff.  He missed the water resulting in death. Jose Molina Jr. was a groundskeeper at Huukan Golf Club.

June 14th, 2015 – Matthew Jay Bolte – 24 – Of North East, Maryland – Cecil County, Wildcat Point, Conowingo, Maryland

Matthew Bolte leapt from a 20 to 48- foot cliff on the Susquehanna River (north of the Conowingo Dam). He resurfaced shortly and then disappeared.  He was found a day later 45-feet under the water.  Matthew was a U.S. Army Veteran and an apprentice at S.J. Desmond Electric in Wilmington, Delaware.

June 16th, 2015 – Warren McLean Dougherty – 31 – Of Mt. Harmony Community near Niota, Tennessee – 100’ Cliff – Blue Cove Hideaway, Athens, Tennessee

Warren Dougherty approached a 100- foot cliffside where a zipline had once been accessible.  With the zipline not there, Warren Dougherty decided to leap from the cliff even though there are many signs marking the area illegal and dangerous.  He landed wrong passing away on impact. Warren leaves behind a loving family and a small daughter, Willow Marie.  Warren had won many swimming awards during high school.  He held an individual medal record for many years and was also awarded the Fritz Grater Trophy.

July 1st, 2015 – Cameron Gillen – 21 – Of Libertyville, Illinois – 60’ to 80’ Cliff – Angora Cliffs – South Lake Tahoe, Nevada

As Cameron Gillen climbed higher up the cliff face, he gradually became further from the water- vertically and horizontally.  Due to the distance of the water from his take-off spot, Cameron did not make the water and was killed.  This tragedy happened while on a family vacation. Cameron was known as a great guy and an all-around athlete.  He was a student at the College Of Lake County.  

July 2nd, 2015 – Troynell Jermone Johnson Jr. – 17 – Of Alameda, California – Nelson’s Landing, Morning Star Cove, Lake Mohave, Arizona

Troynell was enjoying an afternoon with some friends when they attempted to swim across the water to some larger jumps.  Troynell was swimming behind his friends- alone with no life jacket.  He became under duress and started sinking.  A friend dove in and struggled to help Troynell, but his efforts were unsuccessful. Troynell slipped away and was found a day later 40-feet underwater.  Troynell Johnson was still in high school, and he was celebrated for his amazing baseball skills and the joy he spread.

July 7th, 2015 – David Rothwell – 35 – Of Ottawa -75’ Cliff – Morrison Quarry in Wakefield, Quebec

David Rothwell was warned several times by onlookers and staff that it was unsafe to leap from the 75- foot cliff he jumped from.  He made the leap in front of his eight-year-old daughter and many others.  He did not re-emerge from the water after his jump.  Alcohol may have been a factor.  Donations can be made to his daughter here… JaydaRay GoFundMe

July 13th, 2015 – Michael Ole Hansen – 41 – Of Shelbourne, Vermont – 76’ Cliff – Red Rocks State Park, South Burlington, Vermont

Michael Hansen visited Red Rocks with friends and planned on Cliff Jumping.  Reports say Hansen leapt from a 76-foot cliff face and landed wrong upon impact with the water.  He struggled to stay afloat and became unresponsive by the time rescuers had arrived on scene.  He was rushed to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.  He leaves behind two sons, Ryan and Josh, whom he very much enjoyed adventuring with.

July 18th, 2015 – Devron Looney – 18 – Of Sikeston, Missouri –  25’ Cliff – The OffSets near Fredricktown, Missouri (Now called Paradise Cove)

Witnesses report Devron Looney leapt from a 25- foot cliff and upon impact with the water became panicked.  Family members say he was not a good swimmer.  A friend dove in and tried to save Devron but was unsuccessful in his attempt.  His body was found 25-feet under the water hours later by a rescue team.  Devron leaves behind his companion Maria Martinez and his daughter Jasmine Looney.

July 26th, 2015 – Eric Richardson – 20 – Of Virgil, New York – 45’ Cliff – Second Dam, Ithaca, New York

Eric Richardson leapt from a 45- foot cliff over a dam structure in Ithaca, New York.  When he hit the water, he never resurfaced.  Bystanders removed him from the water as fast as possible and attempted CPR; though, efforts were unsuccessful.  

July 27th, 2015 – Andrew Harrison – 20 – of Pulaski Tennessee – 50’ Cliff – Louis Bluff on the Tennessee River, Tennessee

Andrew Harrison had been swimming at Louis Bluff with some friends.  When he jumped from the cliff, he struck the water and never resurfaced.  The current in this section of the river is strong, and there are large rocks under the surface.  Andrew was just too young, taken too early.

July 30th, 2015 – Ricardo Compean – 20 – Of Carson, California – 20’ Cliff – Inspiration Point, Ranchos Palos Verdes, California

Ricardo Compean had traveled with some family members and a friend to Inspiration Point to go cliff jumping and swimming.  He leapt from a 20-foot cliff along the coast and became stuck in the tidal forces.  Being trapped by two- foot waves and cave walls, he fell victim to the waters.  His friend attempted to save him and had to be rescued himself. Ricardo Compean was brought onto a rescue boat and given CPR with no avail.  He was known as a happy man who loved life and his family.

July 31st, 2015 – Demond “Alex” Link – 20 – Of Reading, Pennsylvania – 100’ Cliff – Robeson Township, Pennsylvania

Reports state Demond Link leapt from a 100- foot cliff and did not resurface after impact with the water.  Demond’s body was found 45- feet under the water a day later.  His death was ruled a ‘Fresh Water Drowning.’  Alex Link was originally from Tennessee and was known to be an adventurer.  A few weeks before his death, he told his mother he had “found a new spot.”  She believes he was referring to this quarry.

August 1st, 2015 – UnNamed Man – 20 – Of Chicago, Illinois – Elm Hill Marina, Nashville Tennessee

An unnamed man leapt from a cliff side close to Elm Hill Marina on J. Percy Priest Reservoir.  The male never resurfaced after impact with the water.

August 2nd, 2015 – Davyd Tarasyuk – 20 – Of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Swimming to popular Cliff Jumping spot – Peace Rock, Hamburg, Pennsylvania

Davyd Tarasyuk entered the Schuylkill River to swim across to a popular Cliff Jumping location.  The swim looks short; though, the current can be extremely strong and difficult even for advanced swimmers.  Davyd hit the heavy current and immediately started having problems.  His brothers dove in to help but could not reach their drowning family member.  His body was recovered hours later.

August 2nd, 2015 – U.S. Specialist Brenton Wade Blume – 21 – Of Houston, Texas – Unknown cliff height – “Hole In The Roof” on Lake Benton, Fort Hood, Texas

Spc. Brenton Wade Blume leapt from and unknown height.  Witnesses say he belly flopped, appearing again at the surface for a brief moment before disappearing under the water.  Blumes body was found 27-feet beneath the water.  It is now a federal offense to Cliff Jump in this location.  Justice of the Peace G.W. Ivey ruled Blume’s death an accidental drowning.  Spc. Brenton Blume was an Afghanistan War Veteran having spent 7 months in Afghanistan.  Assigned to Fort Hood’s 20th Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade since June 2015.

August 9th, 2015 – Sheida Hosseinzadeh – 26 – Formerly of Iran, moved to Charlotte in 2013 – 40’ Cliff – Elk River Falls, Avery County, North Carolina

Sheida Hosseinzadeh was with friends and family when she leapt from the 40- foot Elk River Falls.  Sheida resurfaced as a flash before being swept back down from the powerful waterfall’s current.  It took emergency responders over four hours to locate her body.  She could possibly have been injured by hitting a ledge under the water when she leapt.  Sheida Hosseinzadeh had moved to Charlotte, North Carolina pursuing her dream of being an architect.  She had just graduated from UNC Charlotte a month before and landed her dream job with Skook Kelley Design Firm.

Hunter Douglas Miller – 21 – Of Tucson Arizona – 30’ Cliff – Turkey Shoot, Tanque Verde Falls, Redington Pass, Arizona

Hunter Miller visited this location with two friends ready for a normal day of Cliff Jumping.  Though he had jumped from this ledge many times before, the current was too strong this day.  After Hunter made impact with the water he was taken under immediately, not to return to the surface for hours. Hunter Douglas Miller was an athlete that loved to adventure. He was a student at the University of Arizona studying Agriculture.

Aug. 15th, 2015 – Matt Heffernan – 23 – Of Salt Lake City, Originally from Cleveland, Ohio – Double Backflip From 60’ Cliff – King Kong, Causey Reservoir, Utah –  

Matt Heffernan was tubing with two friends when they stopped off at a popular Cliff Jumping location known as “King Kong.”  Matt had leapt four previous times before his fatal jump.  He attempted a double backflip and under rotated, making him hit the water upside down.  His body was found the next morning 50- feet below the surface.  Matt Heffernan was a beloved member of the Salt Lake City skiing community known and celebrated for his skills on a pair of skis.  He was a student at the University of Utah and a sponsored skier.

September 11th, 2015 – Syed Wajahat Ali – 25- Of Coquitlam – 20’ Cliff – Lynn Canyon, North Vancouver

Syed Wajahat was with two friends when he leapt from a 20- foot cliff under the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge.  After impact with the water, he did not resurface.  His body was found the next day.

October 9th, 2015 – William “Billy” Burke – 29 – Of Jackson Hole and formerly Haslett, MI – 90’ Gainer – Lake Powell on the Arizona, Utah border

William Burke attempted a Gainer from a 90- foot cliff and did not resurface after impact.  He was found six days later 153- feet below the water.  William was an avid outdoorsman and loved to teach. He taught kayaking in the summers and skiing in the winters.  William Burke was a graduate of Wyoming College with a Nursing Degree as an RN.