Trespassing woman hit by falling sheet of ice at Minnehaha Falls

Minnehaha Falls
This Jan. 6, 2014 file photo shows Minnehaha Falls frozen in the sub-zero temperatures in Minneapolis, Minn.
Jeffrey Thompson/MPR News 2014

Minneapolis park police are stepping up patrols around Minnehaha Falls after a woman was injured while trespassing behind the falls over the weekend.

The 20-year-old woman was hit on her head by a falling sheet of ice, according to Robin Smothers, spokesperson for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. The woman was transported to a nearby hospital with non-life threatening injuries, Smothers said. Her current condition isn't known.

The area behind the falls is off-limits to people visiting the park. There are "no trespassing" signs posted around the area, as well as a fence and other structures to block access. The park board also intentionally doesn't shovel the stairs leading close to the falls to deter people from trying to climb behind them.

Although Sunday's injury was the first reported this winter, at least two people last winter required rescue after hurting themselves in the off-limits area, Smothers said. It's thought that many injuries at the falls aren't reported.

"We just ask that people who want to see this beautiful frozen falls view it from the two safe and legal areas, either the footbridge directly above the falls or the pavilion area by Sea Salt restaurant," Smothers said.

Park police were on the site in force over the weekend, handing out 60 warnings to trespassers on Saturday and another 75 on Sunday, Smothers said. After the woman was injured, seven people were cited for trespassing.

Park police expect to add more officers at the falls to deter trespassers in the coming days.

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