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California speed flyer dies near Moab after falling 400 feet

A 23-year-old California man died after falling about 400 feet while speed flying near Mineral Bottom, about 40 miles west of Moab, according to an official from the Grand County Sheriff’s Office and Grand County EMS.

Grand County EMS responded just after 4:30 p.m Friday to a 911 call to the area, which is just north of the Canyonlands National Park border. Rescue personnel climbed up about 1,000 feet of scree to reach the individual, according to Grand County EMS Director Andy Smith. The man was without a pulse, and after performing CPR, paramedics declared him dead at the scene.

Rangers from the Bureau of Land Management also responded to the scene.

Because of the treacherous terrain and the darkness, Smith said, Grand County Search and Rescue did not recover the body until Saturday morning. He was identified by the sheriff’s official as Gaje Anthis of Long Beach, Calif.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to cover funeral expenses.

Speed flying is a faster form of paragliding and requires participants to jump from a cliff’s edge. Anthis is believed to have launched near a ravine called Mary’s Gash. It is close to an area known as the Fruit Bowl, which is popular with BASE jumpers, slackliners and rock climbers.

The Bureau of Land Management is considering shutting down Mineral Canyon for such activities in an effort to protect wildlife.

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