MOUNT WASHINGTON — Dozens of rescuers from two states located, but were unable to retrieve, the body of a Columbia County man who died at Bash Bish Falls State Park over the weekend.
Around 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, emergency personnel using an underwater camera discovered 21-year-old Aiden Campion-Pratt of Ghent, N.Y., in a section of the falls that rescuers determined was too risky for bringing the young man to the surface, according to the Berkshire District Attorney's Office.
Berkshire DA David Capeless stated Sunday night that Campion-Pratt apparently slipped off a rock and fell into the falls about 7:30 p.m. Friday with a rescue effort beginning soon after.
"Obviously everyone involved is heartsick in the ultimate outcome," Capeless said in a press release. "These were great efforts, under difficult and dangerous conditions, that should be recognized, and I want to extend my personal thanks to the many agencies that worked together tirelessly."
The massive response forced the closure of the state park through Sunday. In all, 13 state and local public safety entities responded to the scene including the Western Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Columbia and Berkshire county sheriff's departments, Massachusetts and New York state police, Pittsfield, Egremont and Copake, N.Y. fire departments, Southern Berkshire Volunteer Ambulance Squad, New York and Berkshire County fire coordinators and Fastracs Excavating of Red Hook, N.Y.
Bash Bish Falls — the highest single-drop waterfall in Massachusetts — is located along the New York State border in the extreme southwest corner of Berkshire County. Cascading water tumbles through a series of gorges and a hemlock-hardwood ravine forest, and then drops about 60 feet into a sparkling pool below.
The park adjoins the Mount Washington State Forest and Taconic State Park in New York, where the search for Campion-Pratt initially began, according to several Albany area news outlets. Once the search across the border didn't locate the victim, authorities determined the accident occurred on the Massachusetts side.
Reach staff writer Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233