California student, an outdoor enthusiast, dies in accident on trip to Big Sur

California student, an outdoor enthusiast, dies in accident on trip to Big Sur

Condolences for Kenneth Taylor

Condolences for Kenneth Taylor

A student at California Polytechnic State University died in an accident during a trip to Big Sur on the central coast of California over the weekend.

Kenneth Taylor, a third-year student at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo majoring in mechanical engineering, died Saturday in an accident during a trip to the popular seaside town, university officials said in a statement. The university did not share details on the nature of the accident or the cause of Taylor's death.

The San Luis Obispo Tribune, citing local authorities, reported that Taylor's body was found at the base of the Salmon Creek waterfall following a report of a climbing accident. Taylor apparently died “in the pool at the base of the waterfall,” San Luis Obispo County Cmdr. Stuart MacDonald told the newspaper.

More about Kenneth Taylor

The university said that Taylor was an "outdoor enthusiast" and the founding member of the university's Alpine Club.

Taylor, who was from Richland, Washington, was described as “a person of incredible technical skill and even more incredible kindness, unmatched wittiness, and a passion for adventure that could inspire anyone," by staff members of ASI Poly Escapes, where he served as a trip leader.

The university said that they are in touch with Taylor's family and are offering their full support to them and his friends.

"Our thoughts are with them as they grieve their loss," Cal Poly's statement read. "It is never easy to share news like this, and we know that processing this loss can be difficult for members of our community."

The university is offering support and resources, including counseling and therapy, to those affected by the tragedy and are encouraging students and staff members to utilize them.

Saman Shafiq is a trending news reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at and follow her on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter @saman_shafiq7.

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