Update – Fatal Fall
MUNISING – Rangers at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore have released the name of a Dickinson County man who died Monday after a fall from a ledge near the top of Miners Falls.
Franklin Carver Sade, 24, of Norway was pronounced dead Monday at Munising Memorial Hospital in Munising. An autopsy was expected to be conducted at Marquette General Hospital.
Bill Smith, acting chief ranger at Pictured Rocks, said the case remains open pending completion of the autopsy report. In a news release, rangers characterized the incident as “an apparent accident.”
Alger County Sheriff’s deputies received a 911 call at 4:45 a.m. Monday reporting Sade’s fall from a ledge near the 50-foot falls, which is located on the east end of the park, along the Miners River. Park rangers said Sade fell about 70-feet.
Several agencies responded to the scene including Alger County rescue and EMS, sheriff’s deputies, park rangers and the Munising and Rock River townships fire departments.
“When we got there, there was a subject lying at the bottom of the falls,” said Alger County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Matt Waldron.
Smith said Sade and Jordan McGuire, 24, of Miamisburg, Ohio had been camping near the top of the falls after the weather turned bad. Smith said the two men were trying to keep a fire going and Sade slipped and fell while gathering firewood.
Smith said the incident occurred at about 2:30 a.m. It took McGuire a couple of hours to get back to a vehicle, change clothes and find cellphone signal to call emergency officials.
Smith said McGuire thought Sade had broken his back.
“When the rescuers got there, he was still semi-alert,” Smith said.
In the news release, rangers said “the steep, rough terrain and inclement weather conditions contributed to the difficulty of the rescue. Temperatures were below freezing, rocky surfaces were ice-covered, natural lighting was minimal, and the Miners River was higher than usual.”
Rangers said rescuers used an extension ladder to move Sade from the east side of the river to the west. They then carried him up the steep hill to a waiting rescue vehicle.
Sade was transported along the Miners Falls trail to a waiting ambulance.
At the falls trail parking lot, Sade was still registering a “shockable level” and EMS crews continued to work to save Sade using advanced lifesaving techniques on the way to the hospital, Smith said.
Smith said the two men had been college friends who reconnected after a two-year absence in September. They had since gone on rafting trips together. Smith said they had been hiking around the Miners River area before their decision to camp.
The are no established campsites in the Miners River area at Pictured Rocks and camping near the top of the waterfall is against park rules.
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. His email address is email@example.com.