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BASE jumping death in Zion National Park

Modified: Monday, Feb 10th, 2014

Mt. Kinesava in Zion National Park.

A Salt Lake City woman was killed Feb. 8 when her parachute failed to open while she was BASE jumping with her husband in Zion National Park.

Amber Bellows, 28, fell an estimated 2,000 feet to her death after jumping off Mt. Kinesava.

Her husband of two weeks, Clayton Butler, told park officials he jumped after her but was unable to reach her. He hiked out to get help and notified authorities at 6:30 p.m. Both were experienced BASE jumpers, according to a statement issued by Zion National Park staff.

It was the second BASE jumping death in the Grand Circle within 16 days. David Stather, 41, of Canada, was killed Jan. 24 while jumping near the confluence of the Little Colorado Colorado rivers, according to the Coconino County Sheriff's Office.

BASE jumping is illegal in Zion National Park, officials said in the statement, adding that it was the first fatality in Zion this year and the first-ever fatality of a BASE jumper in the park.

Grand Canyon National Park staff provided a helicopter to recover the body, but officials decided to wait until daylight to begin because the area in which Bellows fell is remote and in difficult terrain. Her body was located around 10 a.m. on Feb. 9. Two National Park Service rangers were short-hauled in, and hoisted Bellows to an ambulance. The accident is under investigation, according to the statement.

“It is just really sad and our condolences go out to her family and friends,” said Jim Milestone, acting superintendent. “BASE jumping is so dangerous. Even for those that are experienced, like Amber Bellows. That is one of the reasons it is not allowed in the park.”

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