An Oregon State University student fell to her death Sunday while taking photos with her boyfriend at a scenic coastal viewpoint along Highway 101.
Michelle Casey, 22, slipped and fell over the retaining wall while taking photos at the Neahkahnie Mountain viewpoint, her boyfriend told first responders according to a press release from the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office.
Casey fell about 100 feet and landed on a tree, which prevented her from falling into the ocean, but sustained serious injuries, police said.
First responders told KPTV that the rescue was difficult and that it took two hours before a rope team could reach Casey.
Rescuers found her still breathing but unconscious. Casey was transported by helicopter to Emanuel Hospital in Portland, police said.
She later died from her injuries, KGW-TV reported.
Michelle Casey Saved 2 Lives With Organ Donations, Family Says
Casey’s family said in a statement to KGW that Michelle was an organ donor and her decision “saved two lives.”
“Michelle Casey was born in joy on Christmas Eve, 1997,” the statement said. “From that moment, she was a gift to her family. She adored her family, cats and dogs. She loved being outdoors and was at the beach—her favorite place—on Sunday. Michelle always brought people together with her bubbly personality and loving, giving heart.”
“Always active, she held a second-degree black belt in Tae kwon do, played volleyball and beach volleyball, and loved to work out,” the family said. “She loved singing in choir and her Starbucks customers as a barista in both Portland and Corvallis. As a sophomore at OSU, she was working toward a degree in kinesiology because she wanted to help people. Michelle had chosen to be an organ donor, a decision that saved two lives.”
On her Facebook page, Casey described herself as “a bubbly, friendly and dorky person who loves to make people smile.”
Casey posted images in support of dogs and immigration rights.
OSU Mourns Casey’s Death
Casey was a sophomore at Oregon State’s main campus in Corvallis.
“As a university community, we mourn at the loss of a community member — and certainly one so young,” Oregon State Vice President of University Relations Steve Clark told CNN.
Her friend, Tyson Zagelow, told KOIN that he wants people to know that “she’s just the most loving person that I’ve probably ever known.” She was “the type of person that you could be driving down the road and she’ll make you roll down the windows and you’ll be blaring a song, screaming it out loud,” he said.