Man falls from waterfall to his death

June 1, 2010 8:39:15 PM PDT
A Wake County man died when he fell over a waterfall in the western part of the state over Memorial Day weekend.Andrew Shelly's friends say the Fuquay-Varina man fell right in front of his family.

The 41-year-old was a systems engineer at Cisco and had been living in North Carolina for the past five years.

Blair Thompson was one of Shelly's closest friends.

"It's probably been the hardest three or four days of my life," Thompson said.

Shelly was vacationing with some friends, his wife, and 7-year-old daughter in the family cabin in Boone when he fell more than 45 feet at Elk River Falls.

"He slipped on that last step and just couldn't get out far enough to keep from injuring himself," Thompson said. "This is a dangerous, dangerous place. Andrew was never a risk-taker."

Thompson says Shelly was probably trying to get a better view and lost his footing when the accident happened. He says he was shocked when he learned there are no warning signs near the waterfall.

"There needs to be something there that warns people of the danger and can prevent a tragedy like this that took the life of a wonderful father and man," Thompson said.

Friends and family are honoring his memory by sharing stories about him on a Facebook page.

Click here to visit Andrew Shelly's memorial Facebook page

They are also turning to their faith for comfort.

"God needed an angel and this was his day," Thompson said.

Shelly's friends say they plan to start a grassroots effort to try and get warning signs posted at dangerous places like Elk River Falls, with the goal of preventing a tragedy like this one from happening again.

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