Indiana man dies after apparently falling off Puerto Rico cliff
A 27-year-old man died in Puerto Rico after apparently falling off a 70-foot cliff in Cabo Rojo, the U.S. Coast Guard said on Tuesday. Edgar Garay had been on a day trip to the coast while visiting from Indiana.
The Coast Guard said that Garay was last seen alive at the site of the incident, located near a lighthouse, just after 5:30 p.m. local time on Sunday. More than an hour later, a 911 emergency operator reported to the Coast Guard that something may have happened to the man. When Coast Guard watch standers later arrived at the scene, a witness told them that she saw Garay stumble toward the edge of the cliff.
Officials from various organizations conducted a search throughout the night and next day, including from the Coast Guard, Puerto Rico Joint Forces, Puerto Rico Emergency Bureau and the Puerto Rico Emergency Medical Services Corps Bureau.
His body was found on Monday afternoon.
Coast Guard Sector San Juan Commander, Captain José E. Díaz, said that officials are sending their “heartfelt condolences” to Garay’s family and praying for “strength during this most difficult time.”
“We appreciate the efforts of all the Coast Guard, Puerto Rico Police and partner agency emergency responders,” he said, “especially the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Bureau dive unit that was able to locate Mr. Garay’s body in such a highly inaccessible and challenging environment.”
Garay had been posting about his visit to Puerto Rico on his TikTok account, @chayanchewy. Just a few days before his death, he shared a video of him hiking in Rio de Saldana.
Garay’s brother, Carlos Garay, wrote about his sudden death on Facebook, saying “he was truly taken from us too soon.”
“I will continue to work on changing a few things here and there that would have made chuwey proud and happy to see me do,” he said. “The pain is unthinkable n the thought of me as a big brother could i had done more prevent.”
The message was shared along with a link to a GoFundMe page created by Garay’s mother, Amarilys Pagan, who wrote in Spanish that she is going through one of the worst experiences as a mother.
“It is something for which one is never prepared,” she said in the GoFundMe account, according to a Google translation. According to the page, Garay was born in Puerto Rico, but had been raised in Indiana since he was a child. His family is raising money to take his body back to the mainland for a funeral.
“His whole world is there in Columbus, Indiana,” she wrote.