SPRINGDALE, Utah (ABCA4) – One person has died, while two others were rescued by authorities in Zion National Park over the weekend.
Andrew Arvig, 31, of Chesapeake, Virginia was found dead when search and rescue crews responded to an emergency call at the exit of Heaps Canyon. Two others were found stranded on a rock perch about 280 feet above Emerald Pools, a press release says.
Crews found Arvig suspended from a rope about 260 feet above Emerald Pools before they lowered him to the ground and pronounced him dead.
Rescue crews were able to assist the other two canyoneers by rappelling them safely to the ground.
The trio started their trip early Saturday morning and had been following their permitted itinerary through Heaps Canyon. Authorities say they had trouble with the last few rappels in the canyon, which delayed their exit.
Arvig was the first to exit Heaps Canyon, rappelling past a small rock ledge where he needed to land and re-anchor his rope in order to then rappel the remaining distance to the ground.
The other two used their pull line to rappel to the perch and say Arvig was unable to ascend the 20 feet back to the perch.
Rangers were contacted early Sunday morning when the canyoneers were finally able to contact the Washington County Dispatch by cell phone, after several failed attempts to connect because of poor reception.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Department and the National Park Service are still investigating the cause of Avrig’s death.
The rescue crew included a technical rescue team, a helicopter dispatched from Grand Canyon National Park, and a Life Flight Helicopter and crew from St. George.