Las Vegas woman falls to her death while hiking at Red Rock Canyon

Melanie Kushner was one of two hikers who died May 28, 2016 at Red Rock Canyon [Fatima Rahmatullah | KSNV]

Melanie Kushnir and Sean Randles died over the weekend in a hiking accident. Both of the experienced hikers took a fall from a cliff at Red Rock Canyon.

Kushnir worked at the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada. She recruited attorneys who worked pro bono.

An avid hiker, Kushnir died doing what she loved most: hiking.

With a group of six people Saturday, Kushnir was climbing a peak called Bridge Vista at Pine Creek Trail. She reached the peak but found trouble on the descent.

"Anybody could walk in that area. It just was not steep at all," said Kushnir's friend and fellow hiker, Branch Whitney.

Whitney says Kushnir was crossing a small 6-inch wide waterfall when all of a sudden she slipped.

"She slid in the water at least 30 feet before the cliff," Whitney said.

During that time, Randles tried to grab Kushnir but the momentum was too much. They fell roughly 50 feet to the ground, killing the both of them.

Kushnir was the Pro Bono Project Director at Legal Aid Center.

"It's so tragic. She loved life. She made such a difference here at Legal Aid," Executive Director Barbara Buckley said.

Buckley describes Kushnir as smart, dedicated, and inspiring.

"She had a strong sense of both justice and compassion," Buckley said.

Buckley says Kushnir helped thousands of people with her work and even after her tragic death, she continues to inspire.

"As we get calls from lawyers and the legal community, saying, 'I'd like to volunteer to take a case in Melanie's honor today.' It brings tears to our eyes," Buckley said.

Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada is planning a memorial in Kushnir's honor Friday, June 3 at 3:30 p.m. The event will take place at the Federal Courthouse at 333 S. Las Vegas Blvd.

Connect with Fatima Rahmatullah on Facebook and Twitter.


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