Professor Alexei Likhtman of University of Reading dies on US Appalachian Trail

Alexei Likhtman Image copyright University of Reading
Image caption Prof Likhtman was in the US for a conference in Baltimore.

A UK university professor has died after falling 40ft-50ft (12m-15m) on to rocks on a hiking trail in the US.

Professor Alexei Likhtman, 44, of the University of Reading, lost his balance and fell on a section of the Appalachian Trail in Maryland, said local police.

Other hikers tried to save him, but he died about an hour later on Sunday.

Police said he was with one of his PhD students and was taking photographs when he fell.

His family has been informed of his death.

He was at Annapolis Rock on the long-distance trail.

Emergency first aid

A spokesman for Maryland Natural Resources Police said Prof Likhtman was in the US for a conference in Baltimore.

Image caption Prof Likhtman was visiting Annapolis Rock on the Appalachian Trail in Maryland

Lt Art Windemuth said: "About 10.45am the victim was photographing the area and tripped and fell approximately between 40 and 50ft.

"People in the area immediately began first aid and called 911.

"Emergency personnel arrived and immediately began first aid, but the victim was pronounced deceased about noon.

"He was with a student of his and was taking photographs. He had a tripod with a camera on it, the camera fell and he fell. He was jumping from rock to rock when he tripped."

Prof Likhtman's body was transferred to the office of the chief medical officer in Baltimore for a post-mortem examination to be carried out.

According to his social media accounts, Prof Likhtman was originally from Moscow before moving to the UK to study and teach.

He worked as a lecturer at the University of Leeds between 1999 and 2007 before taking up a post of professor of mathematical physics at Reading, working in applied mathematics.

He was also the departmental director of postgraduate research studies.

A University of Reading spokeswoman described Prof Likhtman as a "highly valued, well-loved member of staff".

"The university was informed of his unfortunate death last night and is liaising with the authorities in the US.

"We are providing support to staff and students and will be saying more as soon as we can.

"Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time."

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