Otter Cliffs in Acadia National Park is seen in a 2016 file photo. Park officials said that a 17-year-old male fell to his death in the Otter Cliffs area on Friday. Credit: Ashley L. Conti / BDN

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, Maine — A 17-year-old fell about 25 feet to his death in Acadia National Park early Friday afternoon, authorities said.

Park rangers and the Bar Harbor police and fire departments responded around noon to the scene near the Otter Cliffs area, according to park spokesperson Amanda Pollock.

The teenager was identified as Bryce Basso, a junior at Brewer High School, in an email sent late Friday afternoon by Brewer High School Principal Brent Slowikowski and Brewer Superintendent Gregg Palmer to the Brewer school community.

Basso was hiking with friends when he fell, and park rangers and other first responders performed CPR, Pollack said. Friday was an unseasonably warm day and the last day before April vacation for Brewer students.

It’s unclear where Basso fell exactly. Park officials have not specified the location, however two climbers who were near Otter Cliffs in the late afternoon said they saw the rescue effort when they first arrived but assumed it was a training exercise. They said the activity was taking place a short distance north of the popular climbing routes at Otter Cliffs, where trees grow right at the edge of the dropoff.

Otter Cliffs is one of the more popular locations in the park, rising 60 feet straight out of the ocean. The location has dramatic views of Schoodic Point and Sand Beach. It draws rock climbers who climb or rappel down the sheer rock faces and then climb back up.

The Park Loop Road was still closed to vehicles on Friday — it is expected to open for the summer on Saturday, April 15 — which means anyone at Otter Cliffs would have had to walk from part of Ocean Drive that passes by Thunder Hole and remains open all year.

School officials Friday afternoon encouraged students, parents and educators to be there for each other following the death.

“Please keep Bryce and his family in your thoughts and prayers as we support and take care of one another in this time of loss,” the email said.

Brewer High School will open on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with counselors available for students and staff, the email from Slowikowski and Palmer said.

The National Park Service reported the incident to the state chief medical examiner, which investigates unexpected deaths.

The most recent falling deaths in Acadia occurred in March 2021, when two Massachusetts hikers fell to their deaths while hiking up Dorr Mountain. Wayne Beckford, 28, and Kassandra Caceres, 30, of Rutland, Massachusetts, fell at least 100 feet to their deaths during icy conditions on the mountain.

And in 2016, a New Jersey man fell to his death from a seaside cliff near Thunder Hole. Mark Simon, 68, of Glen Ridge, New Jersey, had walked to the shore to take pictures, but did not return to his wife who had been waiting in the car. His body was discovered lying at the base of a cliff nearly three hours after he was reported missing.

Before that in 2012, a University of Maine student fell to her death from the Precipice Trail on Champlain Mountain in Acadia National Park. Shirley Ladd, a 22-year-old New Hampshire woman, fell about 60 feet to her death in a switchback section of the trail.

Sarah Walker Caron

Sarah Walker Caron is the senior editor, features, for the Bangor Daily News and the editor of Bangor Metro magazine. She’s the author of “Classic Diners of Maine,” and five cookbooks including “Easy...

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....