Two 19-year-old women have died after falling off a cliff on the Pacific Crest Trail on Mount Hood, Oregon.
Emma C. Place and Emily D. Lang, both from Portland, Oregon, had gone somewhat off the popular thru-hiking trail with their backpacks and set up a tent atop a waterfall before losing their footing on slippery rocks and plunging 150 feet to their deaths, Rollins and Clackamas County Sheriff's Sgt. Brian Jensen said, according to Oregon Live.
Jensen called the deaths a likely accident, adding that "there was no evidence of a jump or a push."
"It looked like a freak accident," said Steve Rollins, rescue leader of Portland Mountain Rescue, who retrieved the bodies the morning after they were spotted, notes Oregon Live. "A really sad freak accident."
Hikers spotted the two bodies on the evening of Aug. 12 and promptly called 911.
"Communication was tough when you're up at Mount Hood with all the mountains and ravines and the canyons they had to go into," said Chris Schloe, a volunteer with Mountain Wave Search and Rescue, according to KATU. "They had to go down into this waterfall. It's tough. I got a boy that's 18, so it makes it pretty tough. It's really hard for volunteers for these kind of searches; it's about as tough as it gets."
Those who knew Place remember her as a politically and religiously active woman with a warm and lively personality, notes KATU.
"We're grieving together today as a community and mourning her loss," said Rob Mohrweis, associate director of Cascades Camp and Conference Center, where Place was an adventure guide, according to KATU. "Comprehending that it's even real. I distinctly remember her on her last day coming up to me giving me a big hug, telling me how much she loved serving with us this summer and how excited she was to be back."
Mohrweis said she "was full of life and joy" and will remember her for always having a smile on her face.
Though less information is available about Lang, she was known as a "remarkable" woman, according to comments on St. Mary's Academy's Facebook post announcing the deaths of their former students.
"Emily was one of the dearest students I had," one person wrote.
The women are the third and fourth people to die on the mountain in the last year. One person who died on Mount Hood was skiing and the other was climbing.