A Kansas City teen has died after she fell 60 feet from a bluff at a popular state park in southeast Missouri Saturday. CBS affiliate KMOV-TV reports that 18-year-old Mariah Schramm died of an apparent head injury Saturday afternoon after slipping atop the rocky bluffs at at Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park and falling into the Black River.
People frequently ignore trespassing signs at the spot to gain access to the bluffs and jump into the river, said Col. Tom Dresner, chief ranger with the Missouri State Parks. He added that the park writes tickets for trespassing, although no park rangers were policing that area when Schramm died.
Witnesses told park rangers that Schramm “seemed to indicate she was hesitant” to jump. About 3 p.m. Saturday, “she ended up losing her footing and slipping and hitting the rocks on the way down,” Dresner said.
The water is deep there and if someone were to jump far enough away from the bluffs, they can avoid hitting rocks, Dresner said.
“But she fell so close to the edge she ended up hitting her head on a rock shelf that was slightly below the surface of the water,” he said.
Park officials said that area of the park is a popular spot for swimmers to trespass in order to jump in the Black River KMOV reported. Signs are placed near the bluff to warn visitors to not enter beyond that point.
“The park covers 9,400 acres and is regularly patrolled by up to three Missouri State Parks rangers, though not always at the same time,” said Brian Quinn of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. “While there were no park rangers policing the bluffs when Schramm died, there were rangers on duty at other areas of the park.”
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