Masada victim identified as Florida State student


(JTA) — The American tourist who died after falling during a hike in Israel was identified as a student at Florida State University.

Briana McHam, 20, of Pompano Beach, Florida, died Tuesday while walking down the steep Snake Path down the side of the rock plateau topped by the ancient fortification of Masada in southern Israel, near the Dead Sea. She was a student in the university’s International Programs.

According to a statement issued by the FSU International Programs, three of the program’s students decided to walk down from Masada instead of taking the cable car. When McHam did not return with the other students, a search ensued and McHam was found dead.

The other students received counseling services, according to the statement.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our students, who was at the beginning of a life of discovery broadening her horizons,” said James Pitts, director of International Programs. “Our hearts go out to her family, and we will assist them in any way we can, as well as other FSU students who might be affected during this difficult time.”

Tuesday saw temperatures of at least 104 degrees near Masada. McHam was dehydrated, suffering from heat stroke and not breathing when she was recovered from a steep cliff where she had fallen, Israeli news outlets reported, citing Magen David Adom paramedics.

Paramedics were unable to resuscitate McHam and she was declared dead at the scene.

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