FARMINGTON, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Investigators say a bad throw or a gust of wind started a small chain of events which may have led to Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Aaron Beesley's death.
Beesley was 13-year-veteran trooper and tactical flight officer who was on a routine rescue mission to Mount Olympus to save two lost teenagers.
Moments after spotting the two lost hikers, investigators say he threw his backpack along the steep terrain and somehow it landed in a hard to reach place.
Beesley stepped off the helicopter moments after it partially touched down to help the two teenagers on.
He stayed behind as the two teens were rushed to safety and was never seen alive again. It took the helicopter crew 45 minutes to find his body some 90 feet at the bottom of a steep cliff.
Crews suspect he was trying to reach his medical backpack, but no one witnessed exactly what took place because he was alone on the mountainside when he fell.
His family gathered Sunday at the Utah Highway Patrol Office in Farmington Sunday to talk about Aaron's passing.
"For him to fall when he was just getting a bag makes me know it was his time to go…I’m thankful that when he died, he died helping someone else," said his mother Laretta Beesley. "I’m thankful it was not a shooting or a car crash."
Beesley’s family says he saved multiple lives without any media attention. His brother says Aaron performed CPR on a boy pulled from Willard Bay. He also gave first aid to a woman found by air in Moab.
His family also describes him as a mechanical genius. His mother says as a middle school student, he would be called to the office to fix the computer. He also created several apps to help other troopers and his family with various tasks.
One of his family members recalls his strong power to persuade others, comparing him to the character Tom Sawyer.
When Aaron was a child his father told him to go stack a pile of wood. Aaron quickly convinced the other children in his neighborhood about how fun it was to stack wood then stood back and talked about how much he would love to be stacking wood as the other children finished the job.
He served a mission to Oakland California from 1997 to 1999 and was offered a full ride scholarship by other Latter-day Saints serving in the mission home because they were so impressed with his knowledge. He opted not to go, saying, ‘Why should I pay someone to teach me what I already know," his mother said.
Instead, he decided to give his professional life to the Utah Highway Patrol.
He leaves behind a wife and three children. Seven-year-old Austin and four-year-old twins Derek and Preston.
His funeral is scheduled this Saturday although a specific location and time have not yet been determined.