BASE jumper plunges to death in Zion

SPRINGDALE — Authorities have not yet recovered the body of a person who died while attempting a BASE jump in Zion National Park on Sunday. This is the second BASE jumping fatality ever recorded in Zion. The first Zion BASE jumping death occurred less than a month ago.

Zion National Park Service was alerted to an overdue BASE jumper in the vicinity of West Temple at 6:42 a.m., Sunday, according to a release issued by Zion National Park Spokesperson Aly Baltrus.

A helicopter crew from the Grand Canyon National Park Service was called in for the search.

Authorities located the body believed to be the missing BASE jumper just before 3 p.m. on Sunday. The body is located in difficult terrain and in an area where crosswinds limit the use of a helicopter, according to the release.

“Search and Rescue crews will assess options for recovery today,” Baltrus said. “The team hopes to be able to recover the body over the few several days.”

As of Monday morning, the BASE jumper’s name and details about the cause of the incident were not immediately released pending proper identification of the body.

BASE jumping is an activity which involves jumping with a parachute from tall structures such as buildings, bridges and natural features.

BASE jumping is illegal within Zion National Park for resource protection and safety reasons.

On February 8, 28-year-old Amber Bellows became the first person to die in a BASE jumping accident at Zion National Park. Bellows’ parachute failed to properly open after she leaped from 7,276-foot Mt. Kinesava and plunged toward the canyon floor.

Bellows’ husband of two weeks, Clayton Butler, was initially cited for a misdemeanor for BASE jumping in the park, but federal prosecutors dismissed the charge, declaring it was not in the interest of justice to prosecute.

The incident is currently under investigation.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by the authorities and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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  • Bub March 24, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    another one? for real?

    • Bub March 24, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      i guess the spring time brings out all the real dumb a…..
      *Ed. ellipses.

  • My Evil Twin March 24, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Shoot, why expand the time and money to recover the body. Let it rot for a while, and the animals will take care of it.
    Another nomination for a Darwin Award.

  • Mean momma March 24, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    This week is just not a good week for BASE jumping, apparently. Think I’ll wait until next weekend.

    • DoubleTap March 25, 2014 at 12:04 pm

      Must be global warming effects. Better wait till late summer or fall.

  • That guy March 24, 2014 at 6:26 pm


  • Steve March 24, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    ZION and similar parks need to do a better job in getting the word out that this activity is illegal and increase the penalty for those who are caught attempting or after their landing. In this tragic case, enforcement is a moot point. Laws need to be respected, especially in high risk environments. The human cost to the victim and family is tragic and the cost of search/rescue and recovery is paid by all of us in the form of higher taxes or increased park pass fees.

    • Dana March 25, 2014 at 5:25 am

      These dummies know it’s illegal to base jump within Zion…that’s part of their thrill.

  • Char March 24, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    I cannot fathom how selfish these BASE jumpers are. They have no regard for those who have to witness it, or search for the body, recover the body, pay for the search and recovery, let alone the family of the jumpers. The one in Moab caused undue hardships for the recovery crews by risking their lives to haul out a piece of selfish trash.

  • skip2maloo March 25, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    My, my, the vitriol hurled at individuals who take pleasure in, literally, flying. “Dummies.” “Selfish trash.” And Darwin, aka species evolution? I’m not convinced that those left behind (the living) are, by that supposed virtue, preferable or better fit as human beings. (And, as we know, Darwin didn’t look at things this way.) Consider, for instance, the many folks who while away their time grinding out a subsistence, walking the straight and narrow, and griping whenever someone else desires something more, or different. What does that lead to that’s any better than someone else’s path? Oh, I forget. We tally the worth of life in numbers and in conformity.

    • ExtremeRider March 25, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      There is a difference between the human spirit and straight up stupidity. Don’t try and combine the two.

      • skip2maloo March 26, 2014 at 1:49 pm

        Is the moniker meant to be ironic?

    • Dana March 25, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      Well, he was a dummy for knowingly breaking the law for a not so cheap thrill…and probably believing he would not die in the process. He was also selfish for not considering the possibility that he would/could die and someone else would have to risk their life to recover his body.
      And yes, he is definitely a candidate for the Darwin Award.

    • Bub March 25, 2014 at 5:56 pm

      I wonder if they have time to think to themselves how idiotic the activity is on the way down, especially after the point that they realize they’re not going to land in one piece. BASE jumping is idiotic no matter how you slice it. It’s probably one of those things popularized by pop culture and social media. “Selfish trash” may be going a little far though” 😀

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