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Man dies in plunge over Langley cliff

An 84-year-old Langley man died early Thursday afternoon when he fell nearly 80 feet down a cliff in his backyard.

Albert Berni, a resident in the 3600 block of Holmes View Drive, was killed in the accident. He had lived at his home for a long time and had been known to do yard work at the bluff edge, said Fire District 3 Deputy Chief Mike Cotton.

Berni’s wife reported him missing to the Island County Sheriff’s Office around 5 p.m. when she found his wallet, keys and car at home.

“The sheriff responded and conducted a little search around the property and found that he had fallen off a cliff at his property, approximately 70 to 80 feet,” Cotton said. “They called us for a man-over-cliff and we responded with our high-angle rescue team.”

Instead of a rescue, the team performed a recovery when they determined Berni had died from the fall.

Island County Coroner Robert Bishop has ruled out homicide and suicide and is now trying to determine if Berni died of natural causes before tumbling over the cliff, or that he simply slipped and went over.

“Certainly, there is no indication that this was anything but an accident,” Bishop said.

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