The body of a man from Billings, Montana was recovered from Natural Bridge Falls south of Big Timber on Friday, September 11.

According to a Facebook post by the Sweet Grass County Sheriff's Office, officials received notice that a body had been discovered by a spelunker exploring the rock overhang below the falls at Natural Bridge.

The Sheriff's Office and Sweet Grass County Search and Rescue responded and subsequently recovered the body of Joseph Crawford. Crawford had tragically fallen into the Boulder River above the falls at Natural Bridge on May 17, 2020.

Crawford, of Billings, was hiking in the Natural Bridge area when he walked off the marked trail toward the river and slipped, falling 50 to 60 feet into the water. Crawford was swept downstream, passing through the falls and into the canyon below.

The Sweet Grass County Sheriff’s Office and Sweet Grass County Search and Rescue (SGCSAR) responded to the scene. Search efforts continued through May 18 with the assistance of the U.S. Water Rescue Dive Team out of Billings. Active search and recovery operations were suspended as of 5 p.m. Monday, May 18 due to high water and difficult terrain.

Officials would like to remind everyone to please "stay on the trails" when hiking in Montana. A hiker injured by a hazard off the trail would be more difficult to find and assist than someone having difficulty on a marked, known trail.

For the safety of others and preservation of Montana's public lands, we should always stay on the trail.

For more information contact Sheriff Alan Ronneberg at the Sweet Grass County Sheriff’s Office, (406) 932-5143.

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