Emergency crews say fallen hiker at Raven Run Sanctuary has died

Published: Mar. 19, 2016 at 1:28 PM EDT
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Emergency crews have concluded a rescue mission at Raven Run Nature Sanctuary.

Lexington Police tell WKYT a woman fell off an overlook while hiking one of the sanctuary's trails Saturday afternoon. Witnesses first reported the incident after hearing a loud noise in the area the woman was last seen.

Emergency crews say the victim fell approximately 60 feet. By the time she was located, crews say she had died from her injuries.

Due to the rural location, crews had a difficult time getting the victim out. Rescue by water and air were both considered, but crews eventually chose to use a boat to recover her body.

"We did put people down to check her condition and then they determined the best route out was going to be using the river instead of pulling the victim back up onto the ledge," explains Battalion Chief Todd Samuelson.

After recovering the body, officials attempted to move her using a boat. However the boat capsized with six firefighters and the body on board. The firefighters, all wearing life preservers, swam to safety.

The victim was recovered from the river at approximately 5:30 p.m. by Lexington firefighters, who were assisted by Madison County rescue. The reason for the boat capsizing remains under investigation by the Lexington Fire Department.

The Fayette County coroner has identified the woman as Mary Katharine Stewart, 22, of Kenton County. An autopsy is scheduled for Sunday in Frankfort. Funeral arrangements are pending at this time.

Meanwhile, when the boat capsized, all of the medical equipment on board sank into the river. Sunday morning, firefighters returned to the area in effort to recover the equipment.

"The equipment were searching for is just regular fire department equipment like bags for repelling and some medical equipment," says Battalion Chief Samuelson.

Firefighters tell us they suspended their search for the equipment Sunday afternoon because they say they're having a tough time narrowing down the search area.

"We haven't put anybody in the water yet," explains Battalion Chief Samuelson. "Right now were trying to figure out where the boat did capsize."

In the meantime, Raven Run Park has reopened and is back to its normal hours of operation.

Continue to stay with WKYT. We are gathering more information and will update this story once we learn more.