Oregon State student dies in fall while taking photos at a scenic overlook

Posted at 6:49 AM, May 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-23 08:52:41-04

An Oregon State University student died Sunday after falling approximately 100 feet while taking photographs at a scenic coastal viewpoint along Highway 101, according to the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office.

The victim has been identified by Oregon State officials as 21-year-old Michelle Casey. She was seriously injured when she slipped and fell while taking pictures at Neahkahnie Mountain, according to CNN affiliate KPTV.

Casey’s boyfriend told deputies that she landed in a tree, which prevented her from falling into the Pacific Ocean, the sheriff’s office said in a press release on Monday.

“Assistance was requested from Cannon Beach for a Rope Rescue and they dispatched a High Angle Rescue Team who arrived at approximately 10:51 AM,” the release said.

First responders told KPTV that the extrication and rescue were difficult, and it took the rope team two hours to reach her. Casey was flown to a Portland hospital, where she died from injuries sustained in the fall, according to KPTV.

In a statement to CNN affiliate KOIN, Casey’s family said she had chosen to be an organ donor, a decision that they said saved two lives.

“Michelle always brought people together with her bubbly personality and loving, giving heart,” her family said. “She loved being outdoors and was at the beach—her favorite place—on Sunday. ”

Casey was a junior at Oregon State’s main campus in Corvallis. She was majoring in kinesiology, according to Oregon State Vice President of University Relations and Marketing Steve Clark.

“As a university community, we mourn at the loss of a community member — and certainly one so young,” Clark told CNN in an email.

The university is offering support and counseling services to students, faculty and staff, and has reached out to members of Casey’s family, Clark says.

“Michelle Casey was born in joy on Christmas Eve, 1997,” her family noted in a statement. “From that moment, she was a gift to her family.”