Warning issued after teen falls from waterfall at Burke Co park - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Warning issued after teen falls from waterfall at Burke Co park

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BURKE COUNTY, NC (WBTV) -

Visitors to the South Mountains State Park are being reminded to heed the warning signs along hiking trails near the High Shoals Falls area. That's where a teenager fell Tuesday  night and was seriously injured.

Too many people have ignored signs prohibiting leaving the trail at spots and have been swimming in no-swimming areas. "Those areas are just not safe," said park superintendent Jonathan Griffith.

The 17-year-old that was swept over the falls Tuesday night had apparently crossed over a railing to get to the area where he fell. Most visitors to the area on Wednesday said they would stay on the trails and try to be safe.

"I don't plan to do anything I'm not supposed to," said one woman.

Despite the danger, though, several people were caught on camera by WBTV actually jumping over the rails in one spot below the High Shoals Falls and making their way through a rugged section.

Another family was just above the swimming hole where the teenager was Tuesday and were just a few feet from a trouble spot. 

"They know what they are doing," said one man. Officials say that thinking is wrong, and are advising everyone to pay attention and take care of each other on the trails.

"We want people to come out and have a good time but they need to stay on designated trails and be careful," said Griffith.

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    Wednesday, July 2 2014 7:32 PM EDT2014-07-02 23:32:58 GMT
    Seventeen-year-old Patrick Mereno fell from the falls and was seriously injured. Mereno's family told WBTV that Patrick is a rising senior at Kings Mountain High School.More >>
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