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Student dies after falling 40 feet in bell tower at Fordham University

Posted at 8:34 AM, Apr 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-15 09:15:59-04

NEW YORK — A Fordham University student  died after she fell 40 feet from the top of the school’s bell tower early Sunday, according to an email sent out by the university.

Sydney Monfries, who was a senior at the university, went to the Keating Hall clock tower with friends around 3 a.m. to get a better view of the city, according to police.

She fell through an opening in a landing of the tower's staircase and tumbled down the inside of the structure, an FDNY source said. Monfries had to be removed through a window because the spiral staircase inside the tower was too narrow for the stretcher.

She was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital in serious condition but died later Sunday.

"Our hearts go out to Sydney's parents, and her family and friends — theirs is an unimaginable loss, and we share their grief," an email from Fordham to students reads. "There are no words sufficient to describe the loss of someone so young and full of promise — and mere weeks from graduation,"

A Mass was held for the student Sunday night in the University Church, school officials said. Monfries will be awarded her bachelor's degree posthumously.

In a statement, Fordham University said they student's family has been notified, and university officials are investigating how the students gained access to the tower, which is supposed to be locked and off limits.

Police initially said the student fell 140 feet, but an FDNY spokesman later confirmed the student fell 40 feet.