Katie Hoedt, ‘Bright Light’ Journalist, Dies in Freak Rope-Swinging Accident
A young journalist who “lit up the newsroom” with her enthusiasm and laughter was killed in a freak rope-swinging accident at Folsom Lake on Saturday, her colleagues said.
Kathryn Hoedt, 23, fell 30 feet from the rope swing onto rocks along the shoreline, where she was pronounced dead at the scene.
“Our team is heartbroken about the loss of Katie Hoedt,” KCRA 3 news director Derek Schnell said in a statement. “She had a vibrant personality, she lit up the newsroom with her enthusiasm and her laughter was contagious.”
Hoedt, a graduate of San Jose State University and New York University, joined KCRA 3 in October 2022 as a producer for the station’s morning show.
“She was also proud to be a journalist and she was deeply committed to serving our community,” Schnell said. “Katie had a bright future ahead of her and she’ll be deeply missed.”
Hoedt’s mother, Beth, told KCRA that her daughter was “such a bright light” and that she “can’t believe it’s real.”
“Today, I tried to get some work done, and it was really, really hard because I knew Katie’s never going to be calling me again, and it’s going to be just something that I’m never going to get used to,” she said.
Rope swings are not allowed at Folsom Lake, according to local authorities.
“This is something we don’t allow here at state parks, and we do make an effort to cut down the rope swings that we see because of situations like this,” said Mike Howard, superintendent for the agency’s Folsom sector.
A California park official also advised against using rope swings in the area.
“You don’t know who put the rope swing up. You don’t know how strong that is. You don’t know the tree, the branch. Anything can give out and it’s extremely dangerous,” Barry Smith, chief ranger of the Gold Fields District of California State Parks, told KCRA.
Hoedt’s death is a reminder of the dangers of rope swings, which can be unstable and can easily break.
If you are planning to use a rope swing, be sure to do so at a safe location and with proper safety precautions.