WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News)- A 20-year-old woman slipped and fell from a 60-foot cliff at the popular Gunlock Falls around noon Monday, according to Washington County first responders.
The fall occurred in the same area where a cliff-jumper died late last month.
Washington County Search and Rescue crews said the woman was sitting in a pool of water when moss on the rocks caused her to slide and the currents pulled her in.
“The water is fast. It is swift,” Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue liaison Darrell Cashin said. “You know you look at it and it’s only shin or knee-deep, but that’ll take you clean off your feet.”
Authorities said the 20-year-old fell face first onto a boulder at the bottom of the falls. Witnesses told authorities that a bystander with military EMS training pulled her out of the water, starting CPR within minutes.
“He got her breathing and got her heart going,” Cashin said. “I have no doubt that probably saved her life.”
Cashin said Intermountain Life Flight transported the woman to Dixie Regional Medical Center. The woman sustained severe facial trauma and many cuts, abrasions, and bruises, but she is expected to survive, according to Cashin.
Gunlock State Park visitors said the accident is a wake-up call.
“We decided now looking at the falls that we’re just gonna avoid the water completely,” Salt Lake City resident Blakelee Ellis said. “It’s too dangerous,
Washington County emergency personnel are warning visitors to watch their kids at all times and avoid getting into the water. Washington County Search and Rescue crews say many believe a swift water accident won’t happen to them–until it does.
Washington County Search and Rescue has responded to 4 calls in the past 18 days at Gunlock State Park alone, with several additional swift water rescues occurring throughout the county along the Virgin River.
Cashin said snow melt will gradually lessen and water levels should come down over the next few weeks, likely creating safer conditions for hikers, kayakers, and tubers.