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Man dies while hiking Iron Horse Trail

A North Bend man died Sept. 25 after a fall from a cliff on the Iron Horse Trail.

According to the King County Medical Examiner's Office, Dustin Van Meter, 22, died from bruising of the brain, heart and lungs caused by blunt force injury that also fractured his ribs, pelvis and extremities. The injuries were consistent with a fall and the medical examiner determined his death an accident.

Between 1-2 a.m., Van Meter and three friends from the Redmond and Sammamish areas arrived at the trailhead for the Iron Horse and John Wayne trails located east of North Bend at the end of 436th Ave. S.E. near Rattlesnake Lake.

The trail is open around the clock and the four friends went there to hang out; there was no evidence of alcohol or drugs, according to the sheriff's office.

Van Meter left the group and when he did not return, they searched the area. At daylight, the other male in the group found Van Meter on the trail just below the Deceptions Craig climbing area east of Hull Trestle - the first trestle on the hike.

Van Meter's friends broke into a car at the trailhead to get a cell phone to call for help. The male who found Van Meter called 9-1-1 at 9:39 a.m. Sheriff's deputies and Eastside Fire and Rescue arrived and confirmed the death.

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