DNR identifies woman who died at Tallulah Gorge

Members of the Rabun and Habersham County Search and Rescue Teams rappelled 250-300 feet into the gorge to retrieve the body. (photo courtesy Red Bird Media)

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has identified the woman who died Thursday afternoon in a fall at Tallulah Gorge State Park as 58-year-old Nancy Moore Smith, of Blue Ridge.

According to eyewitnesses, Smith had crossed over the railing at Overlook 2 and was talking with a Park Ranger when she jumped. Emergency crews were called to the scene shortly after noon.

Personnel from multiple state and local agencies responded, including the high-angle search and rescue teams from Habersham and Rabun counties. Rescuers made visual contact with the woman, later identified as Smith, and rappelled 250-300 feet down to her. Black says she was dead when they reached her.

What began as a rescue mission turned into an hours-long recovery operation.

Personnel from the Habersham Sheriff’s Office, Tallulah Falls Fire and Police Departments, Rabun County Fire Department, Department of Natural Resources, and DNR Aviation assisted with the recovery efforts.

DNR was on standby to fly in a chopper but was unable to due to high winds. HabSAR and Rabun County’s SAR team removed Smith’s body from the gorge using ropes and a rigging system.

Crews cleared the scene shortly after 5 p.m.

The DNR Law Enforcement Critical Incident Reconstruction Team is investigating the incident.

High-angle rescue teams used a rope and rigging system to lift the body out of the gorge. (Red Bird Media)
Tallulah Gorge State Park is a popular tourist destination in the Northeast Georgia mountains. The gorge runs through Habersham and Rabun counties and is operated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. (Red Bird Media)
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