Local high school student falls to death in B.C.

June 8, 2010 12:18:02 AM PDT
A San Mateo County high school student died while on a school field trip to Canada over the weekend.

Daniel Cho was in a musical exchange program with a school in Vancouver. The 17-year-old was part of Aragon High School's combined choir, band and orchestra.

105 students along with their teachers and chaperones arrived in Vancouver over the weekend as part of an exchange program with a high school there. They were on a field trip to the Capilano Bridge, a very popular tourist attraction in the area.

Cho died after falling from a viewing platform on the west end of the bridge, not the bridge itself. He fell nearly 100 feet to his death. It was pouring rain at the time, but investigators say the weather played no role in the accident.

The fall was witnessed by a dozen of Cho's classmates. Rescue crews lowered by ropes reached Cho but he was already dead by the time they got to him. The Canadian Mounted Police are investigating the incident which appears to be an accident.

Matt Biggar, the associate superintendent of the school district, says the students are coping the best they can with this tragedy.

"The students are being very resilient. They're really coming together for to support one another," he told ABC7. "It's obviously been a very tough night for them. There's a lot of interest in continuing to do what they came to do."

Authorities in Vancouver said Monday night that the railings where the accident happened were functioning properly.

"The railings are 48 inches high at the time where this occurred," officer Davis Wendell said. "That's obviously at a fairly high level, not something that would have been easy to get over. We have determined that the boy who went to his death did go over or around that railing."

A Facebook page called "R.I.P. Daniel Cho" has already been set up and has more than 1,000 followers. Cho's brother wrote a tribute on the page saying, "I can't put into words what you meant to me. Thanks for the memories."

Aragon's principal and two other administrators left Monday morning for Vancouver. They will decide whether or not to continue the trip. The students were supposed to come home on Friday.

In the meantime, counselors have been busy at the school, calling the parents of students who are on the trip. Cho's parents arrived in Vancouver Monday.

Students are talking about planning a memorial.

ABC7's Amy Hollyfield contributed to this report.


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