Professor’s son dies after Sleeping Giant fall

Kim Green

Tobias Engel was pronounced dead Sunday night after falling 200 feet from the chin area of Sleeping Giant, according to WTNH.

The 18-year-old Hamden High School student was son of Len Engel, a professor of English at Quinnipiac, who returned to the classroom this week.

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Tobias Engel fell 200 feet off Sleeping Giant on Sunday and was later pronounced dead.

“The university community was saddened to learn of the death of Tobias Engel, the son of Professor Len Engel, following a fall Sunday at Sleeping Giant State Park,” said Lynn Bushnell, vice president for public affairs. “Our condolences go out to Professor Engel and his family during this very difficult time.”

Engel had been hiking before sundown when he fell from the cliff. Chief David Bernardesca from the Hamden Fire Department said that he was conscious and waving to rescue workers when they reached him. Engel was rushed to Yale-New Haven Hospital, but passed Sunday evening, the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection confirmed.

Robert Smart, chairperson of the English department, said he and his colleagues are grieving for Engel and his family.

“The loss of a child is a parent’s worst nightmare, something not in the natural order of things,” Smart said. “When something this tragic affects a beloved colleague and friend, it affects all of us.”

Emily Keene, former student of Professor Engel, said, “Professor Engel is truly one of the best professors I’ve ever had, and my prayers are with him and his family as they grieve the loss of Tobias. Professor Engel is beloved by his students and colleagues, so the news is devastating to us all.”

Another former student of Engel, Jessica Poe, recalled Engel’s fondness of his family that he expressed in the classroom.

“It’s crushing to see someone who is so loved here on campus to suffer something so terrible,” Poe said. “He talked about his son on multiple occasions and his wife often comes to visit and sit in on his courses, so the idea of such a happy family man going through something like this is heartbreaking. My thoughts and prayers go out to his whole family. There’s a special place for Tobias in Heaven.”