KANE COUNTY — A 27-year-old Arizona woman passed away while hiking to a popular and exclusive tourist spot in Southern Utah Monday. She was celebrating her fifth wedding anniversary with her husband.
Hikes to "The Wave," a delicate natural phenomenon carved out of sandstone by wind, are based on a lottery system. Elisabeth Ann Bervel of Mesa, Ariz., and her husband Anthony won tickets to "The Wave" in the lottery about seven months ago, according to a release from the Kane County Emergency Services.
The couple began their hike at about 8 a.m., but by 2 p.m., Bervel had collapsed. While on the hike, the couple apparently got lost and spent several extra hours trying to find their way back to their vehicle, hiking through sand in very high heat.
Bervel collapsed on the hike back, likely as a result of the extra time spent in the heat. Her husband kept going in order get a cell phone signal to call for help, according to the release. A medical helicopter was dispatched, as well as an ambulance and a sheriff's deputy.
When medical help arrived, Bervel was already in cardiac arrest. CPR was performed, but emergency responders were unable to revive Bervel, officials said.
The cause of death is still under investigation. Bervel's body was transported to the Utah State Medical Examiner's Office in Salt Lake City.
Officials said they spent several months preparing for the trip and were familiar with the Bureau of Land Management information outlining how to be prepared for the hike.
Bervel is survived by her husband and two sons, aged 4 and 5.
"This event once again demonstrates the inherent risks associated with hiking in southern Utah's desert country this time of year," the release stated. "Even though the Bervels had tried to make sure they were prepared for this hike, the elements proved to be stronger."
Four deaths related to hiking have occurred so far this year in Kane County, including another couple hiking to "The Wave" on July 4. Ulrich Wahli, 70, and Patricia Wahli, 69, died on the trail. They were hiking in 100-degree weather and apparently succumbed to the heat.