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Woman Dead After Fall in Zion National Park

Woman Dead After Fall in Zion National Park



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ZION NATIONAL PARK, Utah (AP) -- A Las Vegas woman died Tuesday after falling several hundred feet from the popular Angels Landing trail in Zion National Park in southern Utah, a park spokesman said.

The body of Bernadette Vandermeer, 29, was found by search and rescue crews, said Chief Deputy Rob Tersigni of the Washington County sheriff's office.

The sheriff's office and park police received an emergency call reporting the fall early Tuesday, said Tom Haraden, a Zion National Park spokesman.

"A gentleman was with his wife and she had fallen from Angels Landing," Haraden said. Search and rescue teams and a helicopter were dispatched to find the woman, who was dead at the scene, he said.

Angels Landing is described by the park as a strenuous, narrow trail with long drop-offs. The last half mile of the trail follows a steep, narrow ridge where chains have been added to give hikers something to hold on to.

Haraden said Vandermeer likely fell about 1,200 feet.

The sheriff's office and the National Park Service are investigating.

"We're leaning toward it's probably more of an accidental fall," Tersigni said.

Four accidental deaths have been recorded on the trail since 1983. The most recent was a 14-year-old boy who died in a fall from the trail during a Boy Scout hike in June 2004.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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