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Sorority member dies at off-campus Hilton Head event; 911 call for cardiac arrest, officials said

While a cause of death has yet to be released for a 20-year-old Furman University sorority member who died early Saturday morning while at an off-campus event on Hilton Head Island, the first dispatch to fire and EMS was for a “fall with injuries”, officials said Sunday.

Within a minute the dispatch was changed to “cardiac arrest”, Joheida Fister, spokesman for Hilton Head Island Fire and Rescue said. She said six units responded to the call.

Caroline Smith, of Atlanta, Georgia, was at a gathering when she became unresponsive just after midnight, Beaufort County deputy coroner David Ott, said. An autopsy by the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston is set for Monday.

A statement from the college posted on Facebook identified the gathering as an off-campus event but doesn’t provide any other details.

The event was held on Enterprise Lane, a small road cluttered with commercial businesses and warehouses near Hilton Head Island Airport. The exact location remains unknown.

A police report by the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office was not yet released as of Sunday afternoon.

“It is still under investigation,” Sheriff’s Office Maj. Bob Bromage said Sunday. “People are still being interviewed.”

More than 170 people commented on a Facebook post shared by a relative of Smith’s on Saturday.

“We are devastated and heartbroken,” the post says. “I ask for your prayers for my sister and brother-inlaw and nephew.”

Other social media posts described Smith as having a “zest for life” and “vibrant vibrant soul”.

Smith was a sophomore at the university located in Greenville. She also was a VP membership officer for the university’s chapter of the Kappa Delta Sorority.

She was a history and communication studies major, the university’s post says. An older brother also is a student at the college.

Furman is a liberal arts and sciences university about 4 hours northwest of Hilton Head. Approximately 2,800 students are enrolled at the university.

Kappa Delta was founded in 1897 in Virginia and has 169 collegiate chapters with more than 200 active alumnae chapters across the country, according to its website.

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