Man dies in 80 foot fall from NC mountain


(WBTV file photo) (Source: Steve Ohnesorge | WBTV)

MORGANTON, N.C. (WNCN) — A rock climber died after a fall of 80 feet from a mountain in Burke County Sunday, officials say.

The incident was reported around 11:45 a.m. at Shortoff Mountain, according to a news release from the Burke County Office of Emergency Services.

The 31-year-old man who died had been free climbing in “one of the most difficult portions of the Linville Gorge,” officials said.

Just after 1:15 p.m., rescue crews got to the victim by using rappelling equipment. Climbers performed CPR on the victim, who was identified as Austin Howell of Chicago, Illinois, the news release said.

Officials at the scene pronounced Howell dead around 1:30 p.m.

“The specific details of the accident are unknown at this time,” the news release said.

The U.S. Forest Service is investigating the accident.

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