on July 8, 2013 - 3:16 PM
NIAGARA FALLS – Narang “David” Kim, a 23-year-old University at Buffalo MBA candidate and teaching assistant in its school of management, has been identified as the man who slipped off a rock and fell into the Lower Niagara River on Saturday night.
Lt. Patrick Moriarty of the State Parks Police said Kim went off the trail at 6:30 p.m. when he was walking with a group of friends and his mother, who was visiting from Korea. Kim climbed onto an algae-covered rock and slipped into the water before anyone was able to grab him, Moriarty said.
He was pushed downriver by the fast-moving waters, at the Niagara Whirlpool, below the Aero cars, where the river turns sharply, and then disappeared into the whirlpool waters of the Lower Niagara River gorge, he said.
“He went off the trail and climbed onto a rock that juts into the water. It takes effort to scramble out to that rock,” Moriarty said, describing the path of rocks that Kim used to go out into the water. “It’s off the trail. It’s dangerous. If you get too close to the water’s edge – right where the river turns and the water is ripping around that corner, and it grabs your leg, and you slip on the algae-covered rock that’s under the water, you only have seconds to react, and if you don’t grab onto something quickly it will drag you right out to the middle of the river. We’ve seen that happen about four times in the last few years.”
Moriarty said hikers are safe and unlikely to suffer anything more serious than a twisted ankle if they remain on the marked portion of the gorge trail.
“That part of the river is nothing to fool around with,” he said.
Rescue crews from Parks Police and the Erie County Sheriff’s Office Air One helicopter searched the area Saturday night, throughout the day Sunday and then again at first light Monday morning, Moriarty said. He said the helicopter went up first thing in the morning when the water levels were the lowest and his department continued to search along the shores.
Parks Police also were searching for a local woman who Moriarty said intentionally went over the American Falls into Prospect Point at 9:30 p.m. Saturday.
Moriarty said the search will not end.
“We still have missing people from last year and the beginning of this year,” he said. “We are constantly monitoring the water with all of our partners, the helicopters and Ontario Parks Police. Everyone is constantly vigilant, due to the fact that a body could appear in the Lower Niagara River.”
Kim turned 23 on June 11. According to his LinkedIn account, he was an MBA student in the University at Buffalo’s class of 2014 concentrating in investment management and had been a volunteer tax preparer.
In 2011 and 2012, he had been a site coordinator for the Amherst Recreation Department, and in 2010 he taught English as a second language to more than 200 students at the Angie Foreign Language Institute.