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The danger of Bash Bish Falls

Contributed photoThe body of 21-year-old Aiden Campion-Pratt has been recovered at Bash Bish Falls.
August 7, 2017 11:17 pm Updated: August 8, 2017 05:43 pm

EGREMONT, MASS. — Questions remain about the safety of Bash Bish Falls after a Ghent man fell to his death July 28.

The 60-foot waterfall, which is accessible via the 5,000-acre Taconic State Park in New York and the 4,169-acre Mount Washington State Forest, is a tourist destination for many in both states. But, despite warnings and posted “No Swimming” signs, many people still swim in and around the falls.

“Unfortunately, people still swim there,” Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett said Monday.

Police have said that Aiden Campion-Pratt, 21, was swimming with a friend when he slipped and fell into one of the pools on July 28. Teams began a nearly three-day search and recovery effort, but ultimately his body could not be immediately recovered because conditions were too dangerous for divers.

The body was recovered over the weekend in one of the pools below the falls.

Because of the location of Campion-Pratt’s body, it initially could not be recovered.

“The body apparently became dislodged overnight by natural means from the crevasse in which it had been trapped, and was captured by netting placed in the pool below the crevasse for just that eventuality,” according to a statement released Saturday by Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless.

A person who answered the phone at the Berkshire County District Attorney’s Office on Monday said they could not answer specific questions about how the body surfaced.

The location where the incident occurred is a section of the park that is closed to the public due to the dangerous terrain. Signs were posted to alert visitors of the restricted area.

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation has since reopened Bash Bish Falls State Park.

Following the recent fatality, the Massachusetts Parks Department has encouraged all visitors to Bash Bish Falls to use caution as they hike through the public areas at the park.

“Being on the recovery team myself, I can say that this was one of the hardest missions that I have ever been on,” Bartlett said in a statement.

Bartlett on Monday once again praised the efforts of the other people on the recovery team.

“We watched out for each other’s back,” Bartlett said. “The guys who went with me were very professional.”

Bartlett said all of the agencies helping each other out so Campion-Pratt’s body could be given to his family.

“It’s a good thing that Aiden was located and he can be returned to his family,” Bartlett said.

To reach reporter Daniel Zuckerman email or follow him on Twitter @DZuckerman_CGM.