A 14-year-old Florida boy has died after slipping and falling 80 feet from the top of a South Carolina waterfall during a Christian youth camp trip.
Isaiah Oertel, 14, of North Port, Florida, was killed in the tragic incident Monday evening after he plunged over the top of the Laurel Fork Falls on the Foothills Trail in Pickens County.
Emergency crews rushed to the scene to rescue the boy but his body was recovered the following morning.
Oertel was a member of the Punta Gorda youth group and was visiting the waterfall as part of activities with the Gator Wilderness Camp, a Florida-based Christian camping program for teenage boys aged 11 to 15.
According to the camp’s website, it is nonprofit designed for boys who are ‘significantly struggling to interpret a myriad of issues in their families, schools, and communities’ and aims to ‘offer a navigational beacon of hope and healing in the name of Christ’.
Pickens County Emergency Management said rescue teams responded to reports of a victim falling over the top of the waterfall at around 7:19 p.m. Monday.
Several agencies including a tactical response team were drafted in for the search for the boy.
The rescue mission became a recovery mission when the 14-year-old’s body was found early Tuesday morning in nearby waters.
Investigators said Oertel had died before they got to him at the bottom of the waterfall.
The operation ended around 5 a.m. Tuesday, emergency officials told WYFF4.
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SOURCE: Daily Mail, Rachel Sharp