AMERICAN FORK, Utah (ABC4) – A man has been found dead after taking a serious fall near the mouth of American Fork Canyon.
The Utah County Sheriff’s Office (UCSO) says that officers were notified of a man who went missing while climbing near the mouth of American Fork Canyon at 9 p.m. on Saturday night.
Police report that the man, later identified as 45-year-old Thomas James Rawe of Alpine, Utah, was on his way down from the canyon when he “sent a text message to a friend asking him to pick him up at the Forest Service fee booth near the mouth of American Fork Canyon on State Road 92 in 45 minutes.” UCSO adds that Rawe also sent the fried a photo, showing off the “steep terrain and the fee booth.”
When the friend arrived to pick up Rawe, officers say that he was nowhere to be found, though his friend wasn’t too surprised, as Rawe had mentioned his phone was on low battery.
UCSO says that they responded and searched for Rawe for several hours, but eventually called off the investigation for the night due to “the dangerous nature of the terrain.”
UCSO Search and Rescue (SAR) reportedly returned to the area the following morning and dispatched the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) along with one of their helicopters for assistance.
According to police, “shortly after the DPS helicopter arrived one of their crew members located what they believed to be the body of Mr. Rawe on a very steep, rocky slope.” It wasn’t long before a SAR team member reportedly identified the body as Rawe and confirmed that he was deceased.
Crews were able to successfully remove Rawe’s body from the mountain, as stated by UCSO.
Though it is unclear as to what prompted Rawe’s fall, UCSO says that “it is likely Mr. Rawe lost his footing or stumbled, then fell and tumbled several hundred feet down the steep slope.”