Friday, April 5, 2019

Canyoneering Deaths & Serious Accidents

The following is a compilation of fatal and potentially fatal canyoneering accidents, gathered with the hope of educating all canyoneers.

October 10, 1992 - David Bryant dies in The Subway after a tree he was rappelling from brakes loose from its roots.
Reference: Flash Floods & Falls: Deaths and Rescues in Zion National Park, By Dave Nally pg 44-45.

July 15, 1993 - David Fleischer and Kim Ellis drown while leading a youth group through Kolob Canyon during high flow conditions.

September 14, 1996 - Tanya Humpheries drowns in a flash flood in The Black Hole of White Canyon.

August 12, 1997 - Eleven die and one survives during a flash flood in Antelope Canyon.

January 21, 1999 - Sasha Simpson fatally falls 150 feet from the last rappel in Lodge Canyon while attempting to free a jammed rope.
Reference: Zion: Canyoneering by Tom Jones (2006)

August 28, 1999 - Sterling Cooper falls to his death while trying to escape Lower Black Box Canyon during high flow conditions.

August 11, 2002 - (Name not available) A man rappels off the end of his rope in Pine Creek Canyon falling 15 feet.
He survives with a broken femur (in two places) and four broken ribs.
Reference: Zion: Canyoneering by Tom Jones (2006)

September 5, 2002 - Michael and Cynthia S. handline down the first rappel in Russel Gulch, trapping themselves in the process.
Without prompt rescue they might have met their demise the following day when a torrential rainstorm hit the area.
Reference: Zion: Canyoneering by Tom Jones (2006)

April 17, 2003 - Ben Gowans survives a 60 foot fall while trying to climb out of Middle Leprechaun Canyon.

April 26, 2003 - Aron Ralston gets pinned by a boulder in Bluejohn Canyon. Five days later he amputates his own arm and survives.

November 22, 2003 - Justin Harris breaks his leg in Baptist Draw, resulting in amputation.

April 19, 2005 - John Anderson and Brad Underwood perish in Choprock, presumably due to hypothermia.

June 4, 2007 - Keith Biedermann falls to his death on the final rappel in Heaps Canyon, presumably due to a biner-block failure.

July 16, 2007 - Marie Coray breaks her arm then can't escape a pothole in Knotted Rope Canyon.

July 30, 2008 - Kaitlyn Bohlin clips into the wrong side of a biner block at the last rappel in Pine Creek Canyon, falls 100 feet, and survives.

September 10, 2008 - Gordon and Kathy Chapple perish in a flash flood in Egypt 3 Canyon.

June 18, 2009 - Eric Schriever loses control on the 300 foot rappel in Englestead Hollow and survives.

July 24, 2010 - Joe Cain, David Frankhouser and Jason Fico are hit by a flash flood in Spry Canyon, swept over two major drops, and survive.
Reference: Flash Floods & Falls: Deaths and Rescues in Zion National Park, By Dave Nally pg 86-89.

March 6, 2011 - Louis Cicotello dies in No Man's Canyon after rappelling off the end of his rope.

August 13, 2011 - Mike McEntire loses control on the final rappel of Insomnia Canyon and survivies.

February 19, 2012 - Matt F. survives a 60 foot fall while rappelling in Rubio Canyon.

September 18, 2012 - Yoshio Hosobuchi dies while rappelling in The Subway.

March 13, 2013 - Zachary Taylor falls to his death at Pool Arch in Rock of Ages due to an achor failure.

June 3, 2013 - Tyler Osborne survives a 40-foot fall from the top of the crux in Sandthrax Canyon.

June 29, 2013 - Petri Moses survives a 40-60 foot fall while simul-rapping in Birch Hollow.

August 19, 2013 - Shelby Christensen suffers a fatal accident after losing control while on rappel in Birch Hollow.

October 6, 2013 - A canyoneer in Ronda, Spain falls out of his harness after flipping upside-down in a waterfall. He falls 60 feet and does not survive.

November 1, 2013 - While descending Montezuma Canyon, Niki Rellon (aka Heike Noller?) clipped her rappel device into the elastic band below her belay loop, rappelled 60 feet before the elastic band broke, then fell 40 feet.  She survived with many broken bones.  Three weeks later, she required a below-the-knee amputation due to the extensive trauma.

July 7, 2014 - Luis Ortiz becomes stuck in a waterfall while on rappel, then drowns.

July 11, 2015 - Bryan Artmann slips and falls 100 feet to his death during a descent of Heaps.

September 15, 2015 - Seven people perish during a flash flood in Keyhole Canyon.

October 2, 2015 - Louis Johnson rappels off of the end of his rope to his death in Not Imlay Canyon.

May 16, 2017 - Coralie Gillen Graham falls to her death while descending the Shortcut Route of Eardley Canyon.

September 3, 2017 - Stephen Baker loses control during the initial rappel into Englestead Hollow and does not survive.

March 17, 2018 - Joy Welling dies after falling 200 feet in Salamander Canyon due to an error made while rigging a contingency anchor (figure 8 block).

March 23, 2019 - Matthew Yaussi falls to his death after a mishap at the mid-wall station of the final 380-foot rappel of Bottomless Pit Canyon.  
The exact cause of the accident is still unknown.

May 26, 2019 - An unnamed woman loses control of her rope on the 5th rappel in Observation Point Canyon, then falls 100 feet into a pool of water.  She survives with multiple broken bones in the pelvic region.

January 30, 2021 - Justin Ibershoff dies after being swept over a 95-foot dryfall by an upcanyon rockslide.

November 30, 2021 - Andrew Arvig rappels past the Bird's Perch anchor in Heaps Canyon, is unable to ascend back up due to the difficult rock geometry below the anchor, then dies while still in his harness.

December 30, 2021 - Brandon Levander falls 25 feet after his rappel anchor fails.  He suffers severe head trauma and dies while in surgery.

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