UPDATE: South Dakota woman killed in fall from Arkansas cliff

Published: Apr. 14, 2019 at 2:45 PM CDT
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UPDATED: 5 p.m. April 15

Newton County Sheriff Glenn Wheeler said his dispatch received a 911 call at approximately 9:33 a.m. April 13 reporting that a young lady had fallen off Hawksbill Crag in the Ozark National Forest.

Andrea Norton, 20, of Hot Springs and current college student in Iowa, was visiting the Crag as part of a class activity.

Norton was apparently moving from one area of the Crag to another when she lost her footing and fell approximately one hundred feet.

Wheeler said 61 emergency personnel, many of them volunteers, from the Newton County Sheriff's Office, Newton County Search and Rescue, Newton County OEM, North Arkansas Regional Medical Center's EMS, Harrison Fire and Rescue, the National Park Service, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Mennonite Disaster Services, Christian Action Ministries, Tri-County Search and Rescue, Mount Sherman Fire Department, Jasper Fire Department, the Newton County Coroner's Office and BUFFSAR responded to the scene. The American Red Cross also came to the scene and provided food and drinks to the rescuers.

"We are, once again, reminded of how dangerous these wild places can be," Wheeler said. "Hawksbill Crag is a spectacular location that thousands of people visit and enjoy each year. But, one stumble or misstep is all it can take to turn a great day into a tragic one. I want everyone to enjoy our county, but use extreme caution and respect how dangerous these places can be. I don't want any other families going through what Andrea's family is now facing."

Wheeler said the area is a very popular destination and emergency personnel respond there often. "This is the second callout to the area this year that involved a serious fall, and the season is just beginning," Wheeler said.

Wheeler went on to say "I have been in contact with Andrea's family about this horrible situation they are going through. I told them there are a lot of people in Arkansas praying for them."



Authorities say a 20-year-old South Dakota woman has died after falling off a cliff in northwestern Arkansas.

Newton County Sheriff Glenn Wheeler says Andrea Norton was fatally injured on Saturday when she accidentally fell from a rock formation near Jasper, about 101 miles northwest of Little Rock.

Wheeler says Norton was with a group of college students from Sioux City, Iowa, and was reportedly re-positioning herself for a photo when she fell about 100 feet off the Hawksbill Crag, a popular hiking destination within the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest.

Norton was a student at Briar Cliff University and a member of the Women's Volleyball team.

Wheeler says the crag is widely considered one of Arkansas' most-photographed hiking areas, and several people have died in falls there in recent years. Also known as Whitaker Point, the rocky outcrop gets its name because it resembles a hawk's bill.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Our deepest condolences and prayers go to the family and friends of BCU student Andrea Norton. Andrea was a passionate...

Posted by Briar Cliff University on Saturday, April 13, 2019