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Teen girl dies after falling 150 feet from NC waterfall

TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY, N.C. (WSPA) - A 16-year-old girl died Wednesday after falling from a waterfall at Gorges State Park in Transylvania County.

Lake Toxaway Fire Chief Carmon West said the teen's body was found in the water near rocks at the bottom of Rainbow falls.

Chief West said the Charlotte girl was hiking in the area with family and friends.


"I don't know how to talk," said a woman on scene who identified herself as the teen's aunt.

She and other family members appeared distraught after leaving the staging area.

According to West, another young girl, an 11-year-old, fell into the water, but was saved before going over the falls.

"When you go over the top, you're done," explained West. "You're not going to see, you're not going to remember. I hate to be cruel but some way or another we have to alleviate the waterfall deaths."

He added that there have been three waterfall fatalities in Transylvania County so far this year -- two at Rainbow Falls in the span of two weeks.

Last month, a South Carolina man identified as John Shaffer, 42, died after going over Rainbow Falls while trying to rescue his dog.

One hiker Wednesday said he was present for both accidents.

"This is the second time in like two weeks that we've been up here and the park has been closed because of a death," said Chris Stansberry of Pickens.

In 2016, Taylor Terrell, 24, a Georgia news anchor, also fell 185 feet from the falls and died. She fell after she lost her footing while wading in the stream over Rainbow Falls.

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