A 20-year-old West Point cadet died on Saturday morning at an Instagram-famous hiking spot in the Catskills, when part of the rock ledge he was hanging onto snapped and dropped him.

Benjamin K. Bochtler, a cadet candidate at the U.S. Military Academy, was visiting Fawns Leap, a popular cliff-diving destination on Kaaterskill Creek, near Route 23A in Hunter. According to New York State Police, a 911 call came in around 11 a.m. on August 31st, and subsequent "life saving measures at the scene were unsuccessful." The Academy confirmed Bochtler's identity in a news release.

Police don't currently know if Bochtler, originally from Nebraska, had been attempting to jump from the cliff when he fell, although it's a common practice at Fawns Leap, as evidenced by the high volume of Instagram content attached to the swimming hole. As the NY Times reported last August, the Catskills' high visibility on social media — people love to climb up on the rock ledges at Kaaterskill Falls, often to get photos of themselves diving into the water below — has inadvertently encouraged risky behavior. Eight people have died in the area since 1992, and six of those fatalities clustered in the past 10 years. State forest ranger Rob Dawson told the Times that four of the Kaaterskill deaths resulted when people tried to take or pose for pictures. Considering that roughly 100,000 people now visit the falls annually, versus maybe 10,000 people 25 years ago, its social media status worries some officials.

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"Just talking to people who come up here, they say, ‘Yeah, we saw this on the internet — we’re trying to find it,’” Dawson told the Times. “The unfortunate thing is, with those pictures, there’s nothing informing people that you could get seriously hurt here, too."

As such, the state is working to improve safety. At the falls, it's spending $1.25 million to install a stone staircase that connects a middle pool with the top of the waterfall, plus a new viewing platform and fences, warning signs, hand rails, and a bridge. As of August 15th, 2018, alcohol, glass containers, loud music, and fires were no longer allowed in the area, and visitors could no longer come within six feet of most cliff edges. Entering the water within 150 feet of the top of the falls was also banned.

"We’re doing everything in our power to provide a safe experience there,” Basil Seggos, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, told the Times. “We’ve got rangers and staff there who can help to guide people in the right direction,” he said, adding: “Stay on the trail; wear the right footwear; don’t wear flip flops."

As for Bochtler, West Point commandant Col. Joshua Higgins said in a statement the cadet "had an incredible smile and infectious, positive attitude."

“He was everyone’s friend,” Higgins said. “His warm personality and that big smile made a lasting impact on everyone at [the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School]. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family, and friends."