New York college student, 20, falls to death while hiking

A group was exploring old cement caves and trails at a Kingston park but got lost and were returning along a cliff when the student fell.

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By Phil Helsel and Colin Sheeley

A 20-year-old student died after falling from a cliff in New York while hiking with a group of university students Monday, Kingston Police and the university said.

Katherine Vollmer, of Rochester, fell to her death at Hasbrouck Park in Kingston, the State University of New York at New Paltz said.

"We extend our deepest sympathy to Katherine’s family and friends and to the students, faculty and staff who knew her," SUNY New Paltz President Donald P. Christian said in a statement to the campus community.

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Vollmer, a visual arts major, transferred to the university from Monroe Community College in the fall.

The students, who began hiking around 6:30 p.m., were exploring old cement caves and trails, but "the group became lost and found themselves at the edge of a cliff," police said.

The group was walking down the cliff to return to their vehicles when the student slipped and slid off the edge of a cliff, police said in a statement.

She fell around 150 feet, and her body was recovered by fire department rope rescue teams and police Tuesday, police said.

"The area where the student fell was only accessible by an experienced rope team," Kingston police said in the statement.

Kingston Police said they responded to a report of a fall around 9:50 p.m. Monday.

The recovery wasn't completed until Tuesday morning because of darkness and weather conditions at the time that the fall was reported, police said.

Hasbrouck Park is in Kingston, which is around 15 miles northeast of New Paltz.