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West Point cadet, a prior-enlisted combat veteran, dies at rock ledge in NY

Catskill Mountains, Hunter, NY, June 2018 (Rob DiCaterino/Flickr)

A 20-year-old West Point cadet candidate died in New York’s Catskill Mountains Saturday, officials said.

Benjamin K. Bochtler, from Bellevue, Neb., was hanging onto a rock ledge near Fawn’s Leap, a popular cliff-diving location, when a portion of the rock broke off, according to the New York State Police.

Paramedics attempted life-saving measures but were unsuccessful.

“Cadet Candidate Bochtler had an incredible smile and infectious positive attitude,” COL Joshua Higgins, Commandant of the United States Preparatory School, said in a statement.

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“He was everyone’s friend. Ben was a prior-enlisted combat veteran who set a tremendous example and used his experience in the Army to help his fellow Cadet Candidates. His warm personality and that big smile made a lasting impact on everyone at USMAPS. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family, and friends.”

Bochtler previously served in the Army as a drone operator and was deployed to Afghanistan before enlisting at West Point in July.

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© 2019 New York Daily News