EMERY COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – Two different rappelling fatalities occurred over Easter weekend in Emery County.
The first incident happened on Friday, April 15, when the Emery County Sheriff’s Office (ECSO) received a call reporting that a man, identified as 50-year-old Craig Barlow from Salt Lake City, had fallen off a cliff in Upper Black Box Canyon.
The caller said that Barlow was sitting on a boulder on a ledge, watching his friends rappel, when the ledge broke loose and he fell approximately 50 feet, landing in just two to three feet of water.
The caller and one other person had to leave the group to hike to a spot where they had cell service to call for help, while other members of the group attended to Barlow.
Due to terrain, a Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) helicopter was sent with Emery County Search and Rescue team members, assisted by ECSO personnel, to rescue Barlow.
The helicopter was able to land on a shelf in a tight area farther up the canyon, and paramedics made their way down the canyon, through the water, and immediately began treating him.
Out of necessity due to the rugged terrain, Barlow was carried up the canyon to an area where rescue team members were able to climb up a 40-foot sandy embankment and make their way to the helicopter.
Barlow was taken to a hospital where he later died from his injuries.
The second incident occurred on Saturday, April 16, when ECSO received a call that a man, identified as 41-year-old Arlo Lott from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, who was rappelling in Farnsworth Canyon, had fallen around 70 feet after his rappel anchor broke loose.
A helicopter was dispatched out of Moab, but due to unsafe conditions caused by high winds, it was called off. ECSO personnel and Goblin Valley State Park personnel then responded with rope rescue gear to the scene.
After they rappelled to Lott, the conditions had calmed enough for the helicopter to make its way in for a rescue.
Lott’s condition reportedly worsened as he was being raised out of the canyon, and once he was out of the canyon, lifesaving measures were administered for nearly an hour before pronouncing him dead at the scene.
“Emery County Sheriff’s Office expresses sincere condolences to the families and friends of these two men. We also appreciate all agencies who responded to these two tragic accidents,” a press release states.