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1 dead, 2 rescued after canyoneering incident in Zion National Park

One man died and two others were rescued Sunday after a canyoneering incident in Zion National Park.

One man died and two others were rescued Sunday after a canyoneering incident in Zion National Park. (Urias Takatohi via Google Maps)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SPRINGDALE — One man died and two people were rescued by park rangers early Sunday while canyoneering Heaps Canyon in Zion National Park.

The Zion National Park Technical Search and Rescue Team began rescue operations after receiving an emergency call at the exit of Heaps Canyon, Zion National Park officials said in a news release.

Two canyoneers were found stranded on a rock perch approximately 280 feet above Upper Emerald Pools and another was suspended 20 feet below the perch, according to park officials. The two stranded canyoneers were rappelled safely to the ground by the search and rescue teams.

The man who was suspended, 31-year-old Andrew Arvig of Chesapeake, Virginia, was lowered to the ground. Arvig was later pronounced dead by a doctor, officials said. The cause of Arvig's death is currently under investigation by the Washington County Sheriff's Department and the National Park Service. according to the Zion National Park statement.

Arvig was a former member of the Utah Army National Guard, according to a GoFundme* account set up on behalf of the family.

"All of us at Zion National Park extend our sympathy to the Arvig family for their tragic loss," said Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh in the statement.

The group began canyoneering through Heaps Canyon and following their permitted itinerary Saturday morning. Arvig was the first to exit Heaps Canyon after the group experienced "some difficulty negotiating the last few rappels in the canyon which delayed their exit," according to park officials.

While exiting, Arvig rappelled past the small rock ledge needed to re-anchor the rope and rappel the remaining distance. The two others used their "pull line" and rappelled to the perch but Arvig was unable to ascend the 20 feet, the statement said.

The group called Washington County Dispatch early Sunday after poor cell reception caused previous attempts to fail.

The search and rescue response included more than 30 rescuers, a helicopter dispatched from Grand Canyon National Park and a medical helicopter and crew from St. George.

The Upper and Middle Emerald Pools Trails were closed during rescue operations but have since reopened.

*KSL.com does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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