WEST POINT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Tragedy has struck the U.S. Military Academy for the second time this summer.
Over the weekend, an aspiring cadet fell to his death at an upstate spot popular with thrill seekers, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported Monday.
Drone video from three years ago shows the allure and the danger at “Fawn’s Leap” in upstate Greene County, where many take the leap from the cliff into the Kaaterskill River more than 30 feet below.
On Saturday, it proved deadly for 20-year-old Benjamin Bochtler of Bellevue, Neb. The young Army combat veteran was enrolled at West Point Prep, which prepares promising candidates for entrance into the U.S. Military Academy in Orange County.
West Point said Bochtler and a friend got a weekend pass and drove 65 miles north to Fawn’s Leap. State police said Bochtler was hanging on to a ledge when a portion of the rock broke and he fell to his death. Efforts to save his life at the scene were unsuccessful.
Bochtler arrived at West Point in July, just weeks after a fatal training accident shocked the academy. West Orange, N.J., native Christopher Morgan died and 19 others were injured when a 5-ton troop transport vehicle overturned in a wooded area on June 6.
Less than three months later, the West Point community is dealing with another tragic loss.
The school said it is committed to helping Bochtler’s family through the pain.
Bochtler came from a military family. His brother, Jonathan, was serving in the Army when he died in 2017. Their father, Edwin, is a retired Army colonel.