"We extend our deepest sympathy to Katherine’s family and friends and to the students, faculty and staff who knew her," said SUNY New Paltz President Donald P. Christian, in a statement

By Dave Quinn
November 20, 2019 12:53 PM
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A hike with friends turned deadly for a 20-year-old college student in upstate New York on Monday night.

Katherine Vollmer, a student at the State University of New York at New Paltz, was exploring the old cement caves and trailer at Kingston’s Hasbrouck Park with classmates when she slipped and slid off the edge of a cliff, plummeting 150 feet to her death.

Kingston Police confirmed the incident in a press release on Tuesday, with SUNY New Paltz releasing Vollmer’s identity soon after.

According to authorities, Vollmer and her friends began their hike around 6:30 p.m. EST, but got lost along the way. The “unsanctioned” group had wound up on the cliff, and were walking down along its edge at the time of Vollmer’s accident.

Emergency authorities were contacted just after her fall, at around 9:50 p.m. EST, police said. Vollmer was pronounced dead at the scene, after experiencing “severe trauma from the fall.” 

Poor weather conditions mixed with lack of light and the fact that the area where she fell was only accessible by an experienced rope team meant that Vollmer’s body was not able to be recovered immediately, police said. Members of the Kingston Fire Department Rope Rescue Team and members of the Kingston Police Department Emergency Services Unit recovered her body on Tuesday morning.

Katherine Vollmer
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Vollmer, of Rochester, was studying visual arts at SUNY New Paltz. She had just transferred there in the fall, after previously attending Monroe Community College.

“We extend our deepest sympathy to Katherine’s family and friends and to the students, faculty and staff who knew her,” said SUNY New Paltz President Donald P. Christian, in a statement to students obtained by PEOPLE.

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