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Crews move body up hill

Firefighters, sheriff's deputies and ambulance personnel carry a body up a hill after it was found floating in Alkali Creek on Tuesday.

A transient whose body was pulled from Alkali Creek on Tuesday drowned after a paralyzing fall, the Yellowstone County coroner's office concluded Wednesday.

Deputy Coroner Chad Fehr said the 39-year-old man fell down a steep embankment and suffered a severe neck injury, which made swimming impossible. Officials believe the victim was sleeping on a narrow ledge high above the creek and just northeast of MetraPark when the accident occurred.

The man's name is being withheld until relatives are notified. It's unclear where the man is from. He had lived in several states.

For now, the death is considered accidental.

A hiker spotted the man's body floating in Alkali Creek just before noon Tuesday and called 911. The site was just southeast of Bench Boulevard and northeast of MetraPark's east parking lot.

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Agriculture and Politics Reporter

Politics and agriculture reporter for The Billings Gazette.