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Avid hiker dies at Letchworth State Park
by Jennifer Lee
Wyoming County, N.Y. New York State Park Police have identified the man who died Wednesday afternoon at Letchworth State Park when he slipped and fell 400 feet into the Genesee River Gorge.
Police say the victim was Stephen Bzibziack, 21, of North Tonawanda.
Rescuers were not able to recover Bzibziacks body until Thursday morning. Police say it was determined that Bzibziack had passed away on Wednesday. They decided to stop rescue efforts until the morning in order to ensure the safety of rescuers with nightfall and winter weather conditions.
Police say Bzibziack was an avid hiker who enjoyed exercising on his own.
"An avid physical trainer, hiker and outdoorsman, it was not uncommon for him to be out hiking and exercising by himself, said Captain Scott Ritchie, New York State Park Police.
Police say Bzibziack hiked in a closed section of the trail. He called 911 after he had fallen. Livingston County dispatchers pinged his phone to determine his location.
Rescuers discovered a set of single foot prints that went down to an overlook and disappeared over the wall.
"The New York State Park Police Rescue team descended and followed those footprints into the gorge about 400 feet down, and they located the body at the base of the cliff, said Captain Ritchie.
Park police tell 13WHAM they believe the victim died because of his injuries. An autopsy has yet to be released.