Fordham University student Sydney Paige Monfries was reportedly trying to take the perfect Instagram picture of the New York City skyline when she fell from the school’s bell tower.
The incident happened in the early morning hours on Sunday, when police say the 22-year-old from Portland, Oregon, went to the Keating Hall clock tower with a group of friends. The senior student was reportedly trying to get a more clear view of the skyline at roughly 4 a.m. when she fell, suffering what has been described as life-threatening injuries. As The Daily Mail reported, the student hit her head on the ground and also suffered a pelvis injury after slipping through the first landing of the tower.
The report noted that she was participating in a “rite of passage” for seniors at the university in the Bronx where they climb the tower, touch the bell, and take photos outside the windows of the event.
Monfries and her group of friends were reportedly in the middle of posting some of their pictures from the clock tower climb to Instagram when Monfries fell.
“I heard they were just getting a better view of the city,” a senior identified only as Anne told the New York Post.
“I think they were posting on Instagram when it happened.”
The Keating Hall clock tower is closed to students, and those who go inside can face disciplinary action. University officials said the incident was now under investigation.
“The student apparently climbed into the clock tower with friends,” Fordham University spokesman Bob Howe told the New York Daily News.
“University officials are investigating how the students gained access to the tower.”
The university also sent a message to students in the early morning hours Sunday notifying them of the accident and issuing a warning against anyone trying to climb the clock tower.
NEW | Fordham University student in 'extremely critical condition' after falling from iconic bell tower
Sydney Monfries, 22, was with a group of fellow seniors when she tripped on a landing and fell 40 feet through an opening.https://t.co/fNvwtO6sHi
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) April 14, 2019
The story garnered some international attention on Sunday, with many sharing details of the story and pictures of a smiling Monfries from her social media accounts. Some initial reports appeared to indicate that she was making the trek in search of a good picture to share on social media, though later reports noted that her quest was part of a tradition for Fordham University students.
— New York Post (@nypost) April 14, 2019
Sydney Paige Monfries was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital after the fall, where she was listed in “extremely critical” condition late Sunday afternoon. The senior reportedly suffered major injuries to her head and pelvis.