On Sunday, September 8th 2013 at 1823hrs the Palisades Interstate Parkway Police Department received a 9-1-1 call from a civilian reporting that a family member had fallen off a cliff near the Rockefeller Lookout. The lookout is located along the northbound lanes of the Palisades Interstate Parkway in the Englewood Cliffs section. Officers responded and conducted a cliff top canvas of the area. The victim was alert and conscious at the time and reported to family that he was north of the lookout when he fell. Officers, using verbal communication from above, were able to pinpoint the victim’s location to an area just north of the lookout itself.
Local emergency services which included Englewood Cliffs Fire, East Bergen Rappel Team, Closter Rescue, and Englewood Hospital EMS and Paramedics responded. Rappel teams operated for close to three hours to remove the victim to awaiting paramedics and EMT’s above. The victim was then transported to Hackensack University Medical Center in stable condition with several non-life threatening traumatic injuries. Investigation shows that the victim had walked east from the marked trail approximately 50 feet through brush and trees to reach the cliff’s edge. The cause of him going over the edge is still under investigation by detectives however no one else is believed to be involved at this time other than the victim acting on his own.
The area the victim had fallen was a graded area with an overall distance of 125 feet from departure to impact. He was found by rescuers within close proximity of the base of the cliff. The victim is a 45 year old male from Chestnut Ridge NY.
UPDATED (As of 0900hrs September 9th, 2013).
The victim is identified as Mr. Erwin Villacorta of Chestnut Ridge NY. Mr. Villacorta was walking on a marked trail northbound, north of the Rockefeller Lookout when he attempted to gain a view of boat activity in the Hudson River. He walked approximately 50 feet through heavy brush and trees until he reached a point where he lost his balance and fell from the ledge. Mr. Villacorta fell approximately 25 feet, struck a landing area and then fell another 75 feet (approximately). He received several non-life threatening injuries during the fall as well. It shoudl be noted that rescue workers needed to cut away at the foliage to reach the area where Mr. Villacorta had fallen from. Local charges are pending and at this time the incident is considered accidental.