Woman, 20, dies after falling off cliff while taking photo with friends

A university student has died after falling off a cliff at a famous hiking spot while taking photos with classmates.

Andrea Norton, a 20-year-old university student from South Dakota, died on Saturday after falling 30 metres off a cliff in the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest in Arkansas.

She had been re-adjusting herself for a picture with friends from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa, when she fell.

Andrea Norton, a 20-year-old university student from South Dakota, died on Saturday after falling 30 metres off a cliff in the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest in Arkansas. Source: Briar Cliff University
Andrea Norton, a 20-year-old university student from South Dakota, died on Saturday after falling 30 metres off a cliff in the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest in Arkansas. Source: Briar Cliff University

Ms Norton was at Hawksbill Crag, also known as Whitaker Point, when she fell – a popular spot often frequented by couples to taking photos together.

A five-kilometre trail dotted with wildflowers and a waterfall leads to the rock formation, which is shaped like a bird’s beak.

The Buffalo Outdoor Center warns on its website of the dangers of the area.

“Caution: Please be careful in this area. A bluff line can be a pretty thing, but also a dangerous one,” their website reads.

Whitaker Point is a popular spot for photos. Source: Getty
Whitaker Point is a popular spot for photos. Source: Getty

“We cannot stress enough the importance of remaining cautious and staying back from sheer drop-offs, as well as keeping a vigilant eye on children, even teenagers.”

A Briar Cliff spokesperson told Yahoo Lifestyle the student, a popular member in the university’s volleyball team, would be sorely missed.

“It is with very heavy hearts that we confirm the sudden passing of Briar Cliff University’s Andrea Norton,” the spokesperson said.

“Andrea embodied BCU’s values in everything she did including her compassion for all, a love for the environment and an openness to everyone she met.

“Our deepest condolences and prayers go out to Andrea’s family and friends during this very difficult time. Counsellors are currently assisting Briar Cliff students, faculty, staff and all who knew Andrea.”

The school posted a photo of Ms Norton’s memorial, writing on Facebook Ms Norton was a “passionate environmental science major, exemplary student, and dedicated athlete”.

Ms Norton’s death comes just days after a student in New York was critically injured when falling from a bell tower to take photos. She has since died from her injuries.

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