Ranger David Caldwell collapsed while preparing to present a school program at the Grandview Area of New River Gorge National River early on Tuesday afternoon.
Ranger Richard Altare and volunteer Ron Hunter began CPR within seconds of Caldwell's collapse and deployed an automatic external defibrillator (AED), which delivered one shock. Two nurses with the visiting school group continued CPR until ambulance personnel with Jan Care EMS arrived 15 minutes later. Jan Care personnel continued CPR and administered two additional shocks. David was then transported to a local hospital where hospital staff took extreme measures to save him, but all efforts failed and he was pronounced dead at approximately 2 p.m.
David was a deeply loved member of the New River Gorge National River family, and the park staff is devastated by this loss. For more than fourteen years, David provided education programs for thousands of school children. He was also the park’s very capable and primary public information officer, providing valuable information to members of the press and regular updates to the park’s website.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our favorite and most capable park rangers,” said Superintendent Don Striker, “but we take some small solace in the fact that David passed away while doing what he loved – sharing his love of the outdoors with a group of students. Our entire staff sends their sympathy, thoughts and prayers to David’s family and friends during this difficult time.”