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Man dies after fall at resort

March 18, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

A 64-year-old Berkeley Springs man died Monday after he fell off a small foot bridge at the Coolfont Resort and landed in a stream, West Virginia State Police said.

Harry Deutsch either leaned or sat on a rail on the bridge and it gave way, causing him to fall into the stream, said State Police Sgt. Carl Mahood.

Mahood, who arrived at the scene at about 3 p.m., said he thinks Deutsch hit his head on a rock in the stream.

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"We have no reason to believe (there was) foul play," Mahood said.

A man and his wife who were staying at the resort along Cold Run Valley Road found Deutsch while out walking, Mahood said.

Emergency medical crews attempted to revive Deutsch at the scene, Mahood said. He was taken to War Memorial Hospital in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., where he was pronounced dead, Mahood said.

Coolfont is a 1,300-acre resort that includes areas where patrons can walk outside.

The stream into which Deutsch fell collects overflow water from a lake at the resort, Mahood said. It is about 5 feet wide and the water is about 8 inches deep, Mahood said.

Deutsch's body is to be taken to the State Medical Examiner's office in Charleston to determine the cause of death, Mahood said.

A spokesman for the resort said she was "deeply saddened" over the death of Deutsch, who was a familiar face at the resort.

Mara Ashelman, whose family owns the resort, said Deutsch went to Coolfont's spa regularly and ate in the resort's restaurant.

"He was a very gregarious kind of guy," Ashelman said Monday night.

Mahood said Deutsch lived within walking distance of the resort.

Ashelman said there had been no problems with the bridge.

Visitors at Coolfont can take part in activities such as massages, hiking and live music. The property shares a two-mile border with the 6,500-acre Cacapon State Park. The resort's accommodations include a lodge, four-bedroom chalets and vacation mountainside homes.

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