Fatal Fall at Lehigh Gorge State Park

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LEHIGH TOWNSHIP -- Rangers say a man enjoying a mountain bike ride along Narrow Rails Trail with his wife, fell to his death after he stopped to take a photo near Penn Haven in Lehigh Gorge State Park.

Lee Mantz, 44, of Coaldale slipped and fell nearly 30 feet into the river.

Park manager Dave Madl said this incident was very unusual.

"It`s very rare, this is probably the first fatality that we`ve had like this in at least seven years since I`ve been here," Madl said.

The man's wife was not injured, but taken to the hospital for shock after the accident happened near trail marker 113.

Rich Maron of Wapwallopen bikes the trails at Lehigh Gorge State Park with his wife and two young boys frequently. He was shocked to hear of the incident and says he believes the trails are very safe.

"I mean, very surprised especially when you said he lost his life. That`s very surprising but it`s very unfortunate."

Amiee and Franklin Freeman from Georgia are frequent mountain bikers and traveled part of the trails in Lehigh Gorge. They too were shocked to hear of this accident.

"I mean it does surprise me. I would think that it must have been a risky place, that someone would have gotten too close for that to happen.' Aimee Freeman said.

"People are going to do crazy things. It sounds like that may have been what happened," added Franklin Freeman.

Park officials say the trails are safe, but those traveling along the trails should take some precautions.

"Certainly it`s a natural environment, there are some natural hazards out here. People have to be careful, but it`s an accident that happened," Madl said.

"They have the trails really well-groomed, well-marked here," added Maron. "It`s always safer to stay on the trails. That`s with everything just stay where you`re supposed to be."

State police say they are investigating this death, but it`s not suspicious at this time.  An autopsy is scheduled for Monday at Lehigh Valley Hospital.