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GSU student dies in NC fall
Marietta man, friend killed after fall from waterfall
GSU.3D EagleHead

A Georgia Southern University student and his hometown friend died Tuesday from injuries suffered when they each slipped and fell while exploring a waterfall in North Carolina.

Davis Ilan Zinsenheim, 22, a GSU senior from Marietta, was killed in the fall from Raven Rock Falls in Lake Toxaway in western North Carolina, which is about 30 miles southwest of Asheville, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.

Zinsenheim was pronounced dead at the scene when rescue responders from Lake Toxaway Fire Rescue arrived at the scene around 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, reports stated.

His friend, Joseph Harper Hopkins, 23, also of Marietta, fell and was injured first. Then Zinsenheim, trying to help Hopkins, fell and was killed. Hopkins was not a GSU student, said GSU spokesperson Jennifer Wise.

Reports stated rescue crews worked two hours to reach Hopkins, and then he was airlifted to Greenville Memorial Hospital in Greenville, S.C., where he died Wednesday morning, Transylvania County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Eddie Gunter told the Daily Journal.

Zinsenheim and Hopkins were both 2012 graduates of Pope High School in Marietta. Zinsemheim was a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, studying information systems. He planned to become a commercial pilot, and worked as a bartender at South City Tavern in Statesboro, reports stated.

A post on the GSU Alpha Tau Omega Facebook page Wednesday read: “We lost one of our own yesterday. Davis was taken from us after a tragic hiking accident.

“Davis pledged in Fall of 2012. He has redefined what it meant to be a member of Alpha Tau Omega and pushed us to not only be better brothers but better men. Davis was a person you could always count on to help you and would never ask for anything in return. He would do anything to find a way to put a smile on your face even if you had a bad day.

“Davis wanted to be a commercial pilot but he hated school because it was in the way of him getting to be a pilot. Well buddy, you skipped it and get to fly much better planes. Until we meet again brother, Love and Respect.”

Wise said no vigil or memorial for Zinsenheim had been planned as of Friday afternoon, but such events may be organized when students, out for the summer after a recent graduation, returned to class.


Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.


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