Student plunges to death 'while taking Instagram photo'

Sydney Monfries was rushed to hospital in 'extremely critical condition' after falling 40ft from a bell tower.
A university student plummeted to her death from a 40ft bell tower while trying to take Instagram photos of the New York skyline.

Sydney Paige Monfries, 22, from Portland, Oregon, suffered fatal injuries following the horror plunge at Fordham University campus in New York, weeks before graduation.

The New York Police Department said Sydney went to the campus clock tower with her friends at around 3am on Sunday to get a view of the skyline.

When the police arrived at the scene, officers were forced to carry out a high-angle rescue after finding Sydney lying on the ground inside the tower with trauma to her head and body, it is reported.

She was rushed to St Barnabas Hospital in "extremely critical condition" where she later died.

A student, named only as Dave, who met Sydney and her friends hours before the tragedy, said: "My roommate was with them.

"He told me some seniors [wanted to go] to the tower to take some pictures and have a good time before graduating."

Another student, Anne, told the New York Post: "I think they were posting on Instagram when it happened."

University staff are investigating how the group gained access to the tower.

It was reported that Sydney may have been participating in a 'rite of passage' ceremony or event.

During the event, seniors climb the tower, touch the bell and take photo outside one of the top windows. But some said they have never heard of being allowed inside the tower.

"Being in that building, there's no sort of methodology or way to have access to that, in my personal opinion.Don't really know how they got up there," Sean Johnson, a student said.

The school has confirmed the incident as the principal wrote in a letter to students: "It is with great sadness that I report that Sydney Monfries, a senior at Fordham College at Rose Hill, died today after sustaining a fall inside the Keating Clock tower in the early hours in the morning.

"Our hearts go out to Sydney's parents, her family and friends - theirs is an unimaginable loss, and we share their grief."

Sydney, as she wrote on her social media sites, was studying journalism and interned at InStyle magazine.

She was due to graduate in May.

Sydney's family along with two priests rush to the hospital soon as they received the devastating news.

Her uncle Gregory Monfries, said: "This is not a good time."

The university said they will confer a bachelor's degree upon Sydney posthumously, which will present to her parents at the appropriate time.

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