Teenager falls to his death in White Oak Canyon

SNP fatality-Covarribias
Esgar Gutierrez Covarrubias, 18, slipped on wet rocks at the top of Upper White Oak Falls in Shenandoah National Park and fell to his death on July 18.

~ PVN staff report

LURAY, Aug. 5 — A teenager from Fauquier County died more than two weeks ago in Shenandoah National Park when he fell 40 feet from the top of Upper White Oak Falls, according to a July 31 report by the Rappahannock News.

Esgar Gutierrez Covarrubias, 18, was pronounced dead on the scene after receiving CPR from both bystanders and park rangers, according to the report. The recent Fauquier High School graduate was hiking with a friend, who also fell trying to reach Covarrubias.

The Rappahannock News reported that the hikers were 2.3 miles from Skyline Drive just off the White Oak Canyon Trail when Covarrubias lost his traction on slippery rocks at the top of the falls around 7:15 p.m. on Saturday, July 18.

According to Sally Hurlbert, spokesperson for the park, the second hiker was transported from the scene to Page Memorial Hospital in Luray with non-life threatening injuries.

Hikers are reminded that “rocks around waterfalls are extremely wet, slippery and dangerous to climb on. Visitors should always stay on the trail and behind all safety barriers when they are near waterfalls,” Hurlbert said.

When asked why the national park did not initially disclose the fatality, Hurlbert told the Rappahannock News that “it has always been Shenandoah’s policy to not release information about accidents resulting in fatalities to protect the privacy of the people involved.”

A wake and funeral mass were held for Covarrubias in both Marshall and Warrenton on Thursday, July 23.


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