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Polson man falls off cliff, dies while hiking outside St. Ignatius

Polson man falls off cliff, dies while hiking outside St. Ignatius

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A 71-year-old man hiking in the Mission Dam Reservoir area outside St. Ignatius died over the weekend after falling from a cliff along the trail, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

Ted Smith, of the Polson area, was hiking with family members near the Garden Walls at about 3 p.m. Saturday when he fell about 250 to 300 feet to the base of the cliff, the sheriff’s office said. His family members hiked back down the trail until they found someone with a cellphone and called 9-1-1.

The man was located visually and determined to have died; however his body could not be immediately recovered, the sheriff’s office said.

A team made up of members from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribal police, tribal fire, tribal fish and game and tribal forestry departments, as well as the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Lake County Search and Rescue and the St. Ignatius Fire Department spent the night recovering the man.

Once they found him, they had to cut through downed trees and thick brush for about 300 yards to reach the trail.

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