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Second BASE jumping fatality at Zion National Park in two months

Published March 24, 2014 10:03 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

For the second time in as many months, a BASE jumper has died in a leap at southern Utah's Zion National Park. Another BASE-jumping death also occurred over the weekend in Grand County.

Park spokeswoman Aly Baltrus said Monday that in the latest case, the jumper was reported overdue Sunday morning. A Grand Canyon National Park helicopter crew was called in and located the body about 3 p.m. Sunday below the West Temple peak in the park's southern area.

As of Monday, the remains still had not been recovered due to difficult terrain and crosswinds that are treacherous for helicopters, Baltrus said. She said it could be "several days" before search-and-rescue crews are able to retrieve the body, which she did not further identify, saying the victim's name and gender were being withheld pending notification of kin.

In February, 28-year-old Amber Bellows became the first person to die in a BASE-jumping accident at the park, known for its soaring canyon walls and spires.

BASE jumping — leaping with a parachute from tall structures such as buildings, bridges and natural features — is illegal in the park.

Bellows was with her husband of two weeks, Clayton Butler, when she leaped from 7,276-foot Mt. Kinesava on Feb. 8. Her parachute failed to open properly as she plunged toward the canyon floor.

Butler had been 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.

On Friday night, a 35-year-old man leaped to his death while BASE jumping into Grand County's Mineral Canyon. His body was recovered by search-and-rescue personnel Saturday.

The Grand County Sheriff's Office identified the victim as Kevin Morroun, who worked for Skydive Moab.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims