Iowa college student dies after fall from cliff

Andrea Norton

Enlarge Image Andrea Norton Briar Cliff University

Her volleyball team expressed its condolences.

Norton slipped and fell around 100 feet at Hawksbill Crag at the Whitaker Point Trailhead while trying to take a picture, Wheeler said.

Norton, of Hot Springs, South Dakota, had been on a hiking trip with college classmates at the time of the accident, according to her obituary. First responders recovered Andrea's body by rappelling down the cliff and bringing her up in a litter.

A spokesman from Briar Cliff University said: "Andrea was a passionate environmental science major, exemplary student and dedicated athlete".

Newton County Sheriff Glenn Wheeler said the area where Norton died is one of Arkansas' most-photographed hiking areas.

She played women's volleyball and was on a symphony choir scholarship at Briar Cliff, where she was a triple major in biology, environmental science and global studies.

"Hawksbill Crag is a spectacular location that thousands of people visit and enjoy each year", he said. During the school year she worked in the library, and over the summers she participated in internships. She was preparing to work as an environmental engineer or in any career that "would make a difference to the environment". The school is working out arrangements with Norton's family for a memorial service in the near future, a BCU spokeswoman said Sunday afternoon.

"She maintained her fierce love for life, her friends and her family".

Her daughter was very religious and found no conflict between Biblical creation and science, Tamera said. "1 John 4:4 #BattleOn", the team wrote on Twitter.

Andrea's middle name is Eileen, and the two names together means "courageous light", Tamera said. "She absolutely just had this fire and light that just permeated everything".

Andrea also had a younger brother called Matt.

Leslie Heying, a spokesperson for Briar Cliff University, confirmed the death to PEOPLE.

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