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Local teen falls to his death off Red Rock cliff

Victoria Spilabotte

Photo: Image by COURTESY PHOTO

Local teen falls to his death off Red Rock cliff

CREATED May. 27, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- A helicopter was called in Monday to retrieve the body of a 17-year-old boy who fell 80 feet to his death during a hike with friends at the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Park.

"It would appear that this is one of those things that we call accidents," said Lt. Tom Monahan of Las Vegas Metropolitan's Search & Rescue team. 

Friends are identifying the teen as Andrew Sasse, a Bonanza High School student. 
Like the thousands of adventurers who hike and climb red rock every year, police said the Sasse left his group of high schoolers to explore alone. 
"If you stay on the well-traveled trails the jeopardy is very little," Monahan said. "But they're not necessarily well marked and folks like to be adventurous."
Eric Peterson was out on the same trail as Sasse and saw the high schoolers hiking the high cliffs with no protective gear. 
"I saw 6 or 7 kids up way up on the hill playing around and I thought that they were kind of high," Peterson said. 
Police said Sasse's friends found him after he never made it back to their meeting point. 
"Sometimes we don't realize that we are beyond our capabilities," Monahan said. "Perhaps the foothold or the handhold that we have isn't sufficient enough to sustain our body weight. "
Officials said hikers rarely die on the rocks and taking a little extra precaution can go a long way. 
"Life is fragile you never know something can be taken away from you with just a slip or a fall," Peterson said.