Las Vegas Sun

December 20, 2014

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Woman falls to her death in Zion National Park while hiking ‘Subway’

A woman slipped and fell to her death while hiking in Zion National Park on Thursday, according to the National Park Service.

It was the second time in a week that a hiker at the southern Utah park fell after getting close to a cliff edge, but in the first incident, the victim survived.

Around 3 p.m. Thursday, Cheri Hass, 47, of Ohio was hiking to the popular left fork of North Creek, commonly known as the “Subway.” It takes more than seven hours to navigate the path full of boulders, waterfalls, ledges and pools of water.

According to the National Park Service, Hass missed a right turn, went toward the edge of a cliff, and then slipped and fell more than 100 feet.

Hass’ boyfriend rappelled down to her while the rest of their group hiked out to call for help.

“The park staff extends their condolences to Ms. Hass’ family and friends,” Superintendent Jock Whitworth said in a park service release. “It is truly a tragedy.”

On Monday, 33-year-old Clark Proffitt fell in Zion’s Behunin Canyon. Proffitt was wearing a helmet, which likely saved his life, according to the National Park Service. He is in intensive care at the University Medical Center Trauma Center in Las Vegas.

“In both instances, we strongly suspect that these events were caused by getting too close to the edge of a cliff,” Whitworth said. “Loose sand on slickrock may have been the cause of the falls. Given the topography of Zion National Park, these accidents could have occurred anywhere, even on popular trails in the main canyon, including Angels Landing and Observation Point. All of us need to maintain situational awareness and be extremely careful any time we are near an edge.”

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