21-Year-Old Hiker Falls to Death While Taking Photo from Arizona Mountain Peak

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Superstition Mountain in Lost Dutchman State Park in Apache Junction, Arizona
Superstition Mountain in Lost Dutchman State Park in Apache Junction, Arizona

Ted Shaffrey/AP/Shutterstock

A 21-year-old man fell to his death while attempting to take a picture during a camping trip at Lost Dutchman State Park in Arizona, according to authorities.

The body of hiker Richard Jacobson was recovered after he fell from Flatiron Peak in the Superstition Mountains, located to the east of the Phoenix metropolitan area, the Pinal County Sheriff's Office says in a statement to PEOPLE.

A companion of Jacobson's called 911 around 12:45 a.m. on Monday, and his body was eventually found around 700 feet from where he slipped while attempting to take a photograph, per officials.

"The reporting party stated he and his friend were camping on top of Flat Iron when his friend went to the edge to take a photo and slipped," the office says.

A helicopter from the Arizona Department of Public Safety helped in the recovery effort. No other details about the incident have been released.

According to the hiking review website AllTrails, one of the most popular ways to visit Flatiron Peak is through a 5.5-mile hike on the Siphon Draw Trail.

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It is unclear whether Jacobson took this route, but a description on the website notes there have been several rock slides in the area.

"Live nearby and have seen many a helicopter evacuation, typically about 1/2 way down around the saddle," one reviewer wrote on Tuesday.

According to the page, the hike takes about four hours to complete and is open year-round. One reviewer called it "not for the faint of heart."

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"Hardest hike I've done in the valley so far, but so worth it when you get to the top," reviewer Kira Northrop wrote on Jan. 23. "The last mile is definitely the hardest. Prepare to climb rocks."

After a string of hiking deaths at the Grand Canyon in 2019, Brandon Torres, the branch chief of Emergency Services at the park, told PEOPLE that he recommends hikers remain focused while on trails.

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"There's been a couple of accidents where people took a picture and posed like they were going to fall off, and they really fell off," he said. "You gotta be super focused about being next to the edge, and not just at the rim. Hiking down steep canyon trails, think about how much opportunity there is to fall off a trail. People don't tend to fall off the trails at Grand Canyon because they're pretty focused. They're focused on what they're doing."

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