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Purdue student dies after falling 200 feet during hike in Alabama cave

Trever Col had camped overnight in the caves with a group of students and fell in a rappelling accident when they were hiking back down.

A 21-year-old college student died after falling 200 feet while hiking in an Alabama cave over the weekend, officials said.

Trever Col was pronounced dead at the scene after a rappelling accident at Valhalla Cave on Saturday morning, according to Jackson County Sheriff Chuck Phillips.

Trever Col died after a fall while climbing in a cave in Alabama.Purdue University

Col, a student at Purdue University in Indiana, was part of a group of students who had camped overnight near the caves and he fell when they were hiking back down. Phillips said investigators believe the students did not have long enough ropes for the climb so they tied some together, and Col was not harnessed correctly, resulting in the fall.

The sheriff's office received the report of the fall at about 8:30 a.m., Phillips said. Col's fellow students had to travel more than 3 miles in order to gain cellphone service to report that he had plummeted. By the time crews and the coroner arrived, Col was dead.

Phillips said the 21-year-old was an experienced hiker and climber.

A Purdue spokesman confirmed to NBC News that Col, who was originally from Austin, Texas, was a senior studying mechanical engineering at the university.

"We are saddened to learn of the tragic death of Trever and offer our condolences and support to his family and friends," Purdue's dean of students, Katie Sermersheim, said in a statement.