LOGAN — Hocking County EMS and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources responded to Old Man’s Cave in the Hocking Hills Monday following a report that someone fell off of a bridge and into a body of water.
Jason Frizzell, 38, of Lancaster, sustained injuries from an approximately 30 foot fall from the Upper Falls Bridge in Hocking Hills State Park Monday afternoon.
He was initially transported to the Hocking Valley Community Hospital and from there was air-lifted to Grant Hospital in Columbus.
An ODNR spokesperson commented that the circumstances surrounding the incident are still under investigation. ODNR and Hocking County EMS were the only two units who assisted in the response.
Frizzell remains hospitalized but briefly spoke with The Logan Daily News. He said he was a little banged up and would be out of the hospital in the next few weeks after he goes through some physical therapy.
According to Frizzell, the fall was completely unexpected and he was doing nothing that would have provoked an accident.
“I took my family to Old Man’s Cave and I was walking across the bridge and I fell,” he said, adding that he broke his ankle and is feeling some pain in one of his legs and a few of his ribs.
Those considering hiking during the winter months should follow these safety tips from ODNR:
- Be aware of how long and how strenuous the planned hike will be. Visiting a specific state park? Hikers should visit parks.ohiodnr.gov and select the appropriate state park to see a map of the hiking trails. Hikers should contact the local park office for trail conditions.
- Hikers should always let others know where they will be hiking and what time they will return.
- Check the forecast, and have a plan if severe weather strikes. If inclement weather is approaching, reschedule the outdoor activity for a different time.
- Stay on the designated trail, and follow the trail signs.
- Bring snacks and water for during the hike. Cold, dry air can dehydrate hikers quickly.
- During the winter, a frequently used trail can become packed down and be icy, even if other parts of the trail are clear. Be aware of potential slick spots and use caution at all times while hiking during the winter.
Last year, two 16-year-old juvenile males were charged in the death of Victoria Shafer, 44, of Chillicothe. According to ODNR, Schafer was on the stairs near Old Man’s Cave when she was struck by a falling section of tree, and was pronounced dead at the scene by the Hocking County Coroner’s office on Sept. 2.
Two other fatalities were reported at Old Man’s Cave in 2019.
Alexander Colson, 22, of Columbus, was on the overlook trail for the Lower Falls when witnesses say he took a step backward, lost his footing and fell approximately 75 feet. He was airlifted to Fairfield Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
In June, 55-year-old Dana Busson, of Doylestown, died after falling at Conkle’s Hollow. Busson’s body was recovered in a remote location, after she went missing while hiking in the area. It is unknown if she ventured off the trail and lost her way, or if she experienced a medical emergency that caused her to fall.