GREENE COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Fawn’s Leap Falls in Greene County has always been a local favorite for cliff jumping and swimming, but a recent social media spotlight has seen the area explode with tourists.
“Especially [during] COVID. Everyone was inside, everybody was on Instagram, TikTok, all of that, and it became a major hotspot,” explains Steve Near, the chief of operations for Greene County Paramedics.
One group of teens up from Brooklyn ended their trip in tragedy Tuesday. The Greene County Sheriff’s Office reports they received the distress call around 3:21 p.m.
“There was a report that two kids had jumped together off the ledge, and both of them were struggling in the current below,” says Sheriff Peter Kusminsky.
He says one teen was pulled safely out of the water, the second—a 16-year-old boy—sadly drowned. Back on July 25, more than a dozen people all needed to be rescued after they became trapped in the gorge.
“There was a heavy rain storm that morning, and the water rose almost two feet in less than 30 minutes,” Sheriff Kusminsky explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.
First responders say you should never visit the falls or any other swimming spot alone—especially if you’re not familiar with the area—and always look before you leap.
“Investigate the water first,” advises Near. “You don’t know what’s under the water. It looks like it’s deep enough, it looks like nothing’s in the way, but you don’t know if there’s a boulder under there or a log under there that had washed up before you, and that’s one of the major problems. People jump, hit something, and get injured.”
Near further says call 911 immediately if a friend in your group goes in the water and does not come up right away. Sheriff Kusminsky also adds know your limits. Don’t push yourself just to get the perfect pic.
“If you’re not a good swimmer, this is not the place for you. Really it’s just a matter of taking a step back and looking at the overall, you know, the whole picture—no matter how beautiful it is—to see what you’re jumping into,” he says.