University of South Carolina student dies in apparent hiking accident in Peru

COLUMBIA, S.C. — University of South Carolina officials say a medical student has died in an apparent hiking accident while on a medical outreach mission trip in Peru.

USC spokesman Wes Hickman told news outlets on Saturday that Seth Thomas, a second-year medical student, is believed to have died because of a hiking accident.

The school said Thomas was in the country working with a Peruvian non-profit to improve women’s health in a clinical program through Augusta University, CBS affiliate WLTX-TV reports. Authorities say the 24-year-old went for a hike on Friday in the Andes Mountains and didn’t return, the station adds.

School officials say the university has been in contact with the family to offer their full support and that counselors will be made available for students, facutly and staff, according to WLTX.

Seth’s father, Heyward Thomas, posted a message on Facebook saying, “Seth’s faith and love of God was a central part of his being and drove everything that he did.”

It is with unbelievable sadness that we learned of Seth’s passing this afternoon. Seth was hiking up to a cross on a…

Posted by Heyward Thomas on Sunday, June 25, 2017

“Normally in a family, the older generation sets the example for the younger generation, however, in our family, Seth inspired us on a daily basis,” Heyward wrote. “Seth inspired us with his love, compassion, and kindness in everything that he did.”

“This world is only temporary and there is no doubt in our minds that Seth is with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” the Facebook message said.

The family requests privacy at this time.

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University of South Carolina medical student Seth Thomas with his father in a photo posted to Facebook.

Heyward Thomas/Facebook

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