Teen Hiker Falls Off Muir Beach Cliff

UPDATE: Authorities confirm the teen took a social trail to position himself for a better view near the cliff

The idea that hiking and texting don't mix seems like common sense. Unfortunately, we now have a tragic example of why: Authorities in Golden Gate National Recreation Area are reporting that a 17-year-old boy who walked off a cliff while hiking on the Coastal Trail near the Muir Beach Overlook on Monday may have been distracted by talking or texting on his cell phone. UPDATE: After talking to family members and eyewitnesses, authorities have confirmed the teen took a social trail to the edge of a cliff to get a better view. While positioning himself near some rocks, he lost his grip and fell.

The Pennsylvania teen was vacationing with his family when his younger brother saw him unknowingly walk over the edge around 1 p.m. on Monday. He fell 400-500 feet and was pronounced dead at the scene about an hour later after attempts at CPR failed.

"You should not be distracted by cell phones or iPods or any other distracting agent," Golden Gate National Recreation Area spokeswoman Alexandra Picavet told KTVU.com.

"I can definitively say a cell phone had nothing to do with it. That was speculation by someone who was not at the scene," Picavet said.

Still sad news, and a reminder why hiking off-trail near cliffs can be especially precarious. Still, it restores some of my faith in humanity that a cell phone had nothing to do with it.

—Ted Alvarez

via MercuryNews.com

update via KTVU and SF Chronicle