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Man falls to death in Lake Placid

September 14, 2017
By PETER CROWLEY - For the News ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - A 70-year-old visitor fell to his death while checking out the fly-fishing possibilities below a bridge near River Road, according to an Essex County coroner.

It was around 5 p.m. on Tuesday when Mark Hatlee of Troy got out of his vehicle beside the one-lane, steel-deck bridge by which a private road, just off River Road, crosses the West Branch of the AuSable River, according to Coroner Frank Whitelaw. Hatlee's domestic partner waited in the vehicle while he checked out the river.

The sound of screams brought her out of the vehicle and to the bridge, where a passerby was calling 911. The passerby didn't witness Hatlee's fall but heard a bang, came over and saw Hatlee lying on rocks below the bridge, Whitelaw said.

It appears Hatlee fell from a path beside the bridge that leads down to the river, or perhaps he got from there onto a concrete bridge abutment nearby, Whitelaw said. Either way, Whitelaw believes he fell head-first onto the rocks.

"It had to be a heck of a fall because it was significant trauma," Whitelaw said.

The Lake Placid Volunteer Ambulance Service was able to briefly revive Hatlee and transfer him to Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid, where he died int he Emergency Department before North Country Life Flight was able to fly him to a trauma center at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington.

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State police joined Whitelaw in investigating.

Dr. C. Francis Varga performed an autopsy at AMC-Saranac Lake and determined Hatlee's cause of death to be multiple blunt-force injuries. The coroner ruled the manner of death as accidental.



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