Las Vegas Sun

September 17, 2014

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Utah woman dies in parachute accident near Zion

A Utah woman attempting a parachute jump near Zion National Park died when her parachute failed to open, park officials said.

Amber Bellows fell about 2,000 feet to the ground Saturday afternoon. The 28-year-old had been attempting the jump from Mount Kinesava, in the southern part of the park famous for its soaring red rock formations.

Bellows hiked to the top of the mountain Saturday morning with her husband, 29-year-old Clayton Butler. The Salt Lake City couple had married just two weeks before.

Bellows jumped first, around 4 p.m., but her parachute did not open. Her husband jumped after her but could not reach her body. It took him two hours to hike down the mountain and notify park officials.

Officials began a helicopter search on Sunday morning and found Bellows' body by 10 a.m.

Park officials said Bellows had been an experienced BASE jumper. BASE stands for Building, Antenna, Span, Earth — the different platforms used by jumpers.

BASE jumping is banned in Zion, and this is the first time a jumper has died.

"It is just really sad and our condolences go out to her family and friends," Acting Superintendent Jim Milestone said in a statement. "BASE jumping is so dangerous. Even for those that are experienced, like Amber Bellows. That is one of the reasons it is not allowed in the park."

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