Press-Republican

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July 31, 2013

Vermont man died in cliff jump

WESTPORT — Autopsy reports indicate a Vermont man died of multiple traumatic injuries suffered when he jumped off a cliff at Champlain Palisades.

The lakeshore cliff on Lake Champlain borders a state Wild Forest just south of Split Rock Point.

Michael Mindell, 39, of Shelburne was boating with friends on the lake last Saturday. They had anchored off the shoreline near the rock face to swim.

Mindall swam to the cliffs and climbed about 150 feet before turning and jumping into the water, police said.

Port Henry Volunteer Fire Department divers and State Police searched the surrounding lake area before recovering Mindall’s body at 6:15 p.m. Monday.

He was found at a water depth of 156 feet.

State Police Troop B Bureau of Criminal Investigation Lt. John Coryea said the cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries due to the jump.

Essex County Coroner Frank Whitelaw responded to the site, police said in a news release, and authorized removal of the body to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake. The autopsy was performed Tuesday by Dr. C. Francis Varga.   

Whitelaw ruled the manner of death to be accidental.

State Police said the incident was still under investigation.

Anyone who was on the lake near the Palisades Cliffs just north of Barn Rock in Westport at around 5 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and may have witnessed the accident is asked to contact the State Police in Lewis at 873-2750.

Email Kim Smith Dedam:kdedam@pressrepublican.com

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