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Hiker dies in 100-foot fall at Zion National Park



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SPRINGDALE, Washington County — Search-and-rescue crews recovered the body of a 24-year-old Las Vegas man Sunday who died from a fall in Zion National Park.

The man apparently fell 100 feet while canyoneering with friends in Heaps Canyon about 11:30 p.m. Saturday, said Zion spokeswoman Aly Baltrus. She described the fall into a side canyon as "unroped." The victim's three companions descended to him. One stayed with him, while the other two continued through the canyon to get help.

Two Zion search-and-rescue teams and a helicopter from Grand Canyon National Park started rescue efforts early Sunday. Rescuers rappelled down and found the man dead, Baltrus said.

His name is being withheld pending notification of his family, she said.

Heaps Canyon is a strenuous, challenging technical canyon with an approximate 3,000-foot descent, Baltrus said. It consists of a number of rappels into cold water, and ends with a 280-foot rappel to the Upper Emerald Pool area. It usually takes 12 to 20 hours to complete.

As of July 6, Zion had 175 emergency calls, a 34 percent increase over last year, Baltrus said.

There have been 57 search-and-rescue calls this year, 32 more than for the same period in 2014. In the past week, the park has responded to at least 16 emergency calls, including carrying three people out of the Narrows last Wednesday, she said.

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Dennis Romboy

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