DEEP calls for hikers to practice safety after fatal fall in Killingly park

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DANIELSON --  Officials said a 37-year-old male who fell Sunday at Ross's Cliffs at Old Furnace State Park has died.

DEEP said Merton Hart III, 37, of Killingly, was hiking with his wife, another adult, and three children all under age 16, when he fell around 3 p.m.  He suffered head, lower body injuries, and after being extricated by EMS and FD, he was taken by LifeStar to Rhode Island Hospital. EnCon Police are investigating the incident.

Hart was hiking along top of the overlook above Lower Ross Pond. He fell about 100 feet to the broken, rocky hillside below.  He had to be extricated through rocky terrain and brush to edge of pond, into fire department boat then across pond to waiting ambulance.

Last week, another hiker slipped and fell inside Enders State Forest, critically injuring himself.

These recent incidents at state parks prompted DEEP to release a statement advising hikers to quote, “Stay on the main trail and not to climb up to the top of the falls because the rocks there are wet and slippery and can cause people to fall.”

Hikers familiar with trails across the state say it’s a good idea to wear proper hiking boots. Footwear, if worn correctly, can prevent against slips and falls. They also say it’s a good idea to walk with your hands outside your pockets. This will help you land safely just in case you do fall on the ground.