Montreal police and other rescue officials are investigating the circumstances that led to a man’s fatal plunge from a cliff on Mount Royal early Sunday morning.

Just after 4 a.m., police received a distress call from a woman reporting that a man she was with had somehow lost his footing in the densely forested area, and fallen down into a ravine.

It’s believed that the pair may have been navigating a path that runs precariously alongside the cliff. 

It took firefighters and police over 20 minutes to reach the woman – figuring out her exact location on the mountain in the dark took a fair amount of coordination, said Ian Ritchie, Chief of Operations at the Montreal Fire Department. 

“Mount Royal in the best of times is hard to navigate in the dark,” Ritchie said. 

Once the pair was located, the fire department’s high-angle rescue team began to scale the side of the cliff using ropes and hoists. 

This team is specially trained to handle recovery missions at high elevations or in confined spaces, Ritchie explained.

“You have to understand: it’s a place where there are paths, there’s little roads, it’s uneven. There’s branches, there’s rocks—you have to be very, very careful when you’re walking on the mountain,” Ritchie added. 

The man, who is in his 30's, was in cardiac arrest when rescue workers reached him. 

He was put in a special stretcher and transported to hospital by paramedics, where he was pronounced dead.

Ritchie also said that the female hiker was possibly taken to hospital and treated for shock, but he could not confirm definitively. 

The link between the two hikers is still unknown, and police are unsure whether drugs or alcohol had any involvement in the accident. 

Mount Royal park was closed to visitors at the time of the incident. The City of Montreal told CTV that the only time the park is open overnight is for special events-- but it is always forbidden to go off the marked trails. 

Right next to the accident site is a sign that warns hikers of the steep slope. It's a warning that isn't always heeded. 

In 2014, a group of people went to watch the sunrise on the mountain, but a woman sustained minor injuries when she approached a ledge and slipped. 

Two years earlier, in 2012, a man suffered serious neck and back injuries after slipping.

However, this is the first fatal accident on the mountain in at least five years. 

The investigation is ongoing.