Wisconsin surgeon who died on hike was found 'partially buried' after ground collapsed, sheriff says

The body of a Wisconsin surgeon was found “partially buried” after the ground beneath her collapsed during a hike and she fell down an embankment, authorities have revealed.

Dr. Kelsey A. Musgrove, a 30-year-old cardiothoracic surgery fellow at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, was reported missing March 30 after failing to return from a hike. Her body was found Sunday in the Potato River Falls area, the Iron County Sheriff’s Office said.

The sheriff’s office shared new details of her death, revealing in a news release that her remains were found partially buried “in a steep clay bank along the river’s edge.”

It is believed that while she was hiking alone, she ventured off the trail near Potato River Falls to get closer to the river. 

Dr. Kelsey A. Musgrove.Iron County Sheriff’s Office

“While walking along the edge of the embankment, it appears that the ground beneath her collapsed, bringing her down the bank along with clay and rocks,” the news release stated.

The autopsy results indicated she died of traumatic injuries sustained in the fall, the Iron County Sheriff’s Office said. The death occurred “within minutes” of the tumble, according to the agency.

Officials said that clay banks are always “unstable,” warning hikers to stay on marked trails and observation areas. 

“If you choose to hike alone, always make sure someone knows your route of travel and when you plan to return,” Iron County Sheriff Paul Samardich said in the release. 

More than two dozen agencies across Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota assisted in the search for Musgrove, which came to an end when her body was located at 11:25 p.m. Sunday.

According to All Trails, Potato River Falls is considered an easy route that takes less than 30 minutes to complete. 

UW Health press secretary Emily Kumlien told NBC News earlier this week in a statement, “We are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague Dr. Kelsey Musgrove.”

“She was recognized by her peers as a great surgeon, an outstanding mentor and an incredibly kind and positive spirit. Our thoughts and condolences are with her friends and family during this difficult time,” the statement continued.

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