WEST JORDAN, Utah — They say their son is the first person killed swinging from the Corona Arch in Moab. Now, Kyle Stocking’s parents are talking about the extreme sport.
Mike and Linda Stocking do not blame the viral video that influenced their son or the friends who set up the rope swing but they do say Kyle’s death was preventable and they hope thrill seekers will put safety first after hearing their story.
“I’ve been crying for 14 hours on the way from California,” said Linda Stocking. “You almost wonder, are there any more tears?”
On Sunday, as the Stocking’s spring vacation ended, the couple received news that their son had been killed.
“It’s the phone call no parent wants to receive,” said Mike Stocking.
Kyle was intrigued by a Youtube video called ‘The World`s Largest Rope Swing,’ which has garnered 19 million views.
“He showed us the video from Youtube a couple months ago and said ‘oh this is great’ but I didn’t think he’d ever do it,” said Linda Stocking.
“We told him, ‘we don’t feel good about this’ and we had to block this out of our minds but he was determined to do this,” said Mike Stocking.
The former marine and experienced rock climber set out with five friends for a new high but on Sunday, when Kyle swung from the arch, he had no idea the rope was too long.
“They miscalculated with his weight and so he hit,” said Linda Stocking. “Sometimes these kids do a test run with a backpack full of rocks, to our knowledge there was no test run.”
The stockings don’t blame Kyle’s buddies but admit, “they should have been safer, they could have been safer and should have had someone who knew what they were doing.”
“Our hearts are broken but our hearts are broken for his friends too who had to witness such a tragic scene,” said Mike Stocking.
In the face of unspeakable heartbreak, a feeling of comfort the Stockings never expected. Another West Jordan family happened to film the incident and was with Kyle in his final moments.
As Linda Stocking sobbed, “he was actually given a priesthood blessing and I so wanted to meet this woman who was holding my son. I just wanted to know someone was there when he died, as a mother you just don’t want them to be alone.”
The stockings had a chance to meet with that family Tuesday night to thank them face-to-face.
Funeral arrangements are pending and an account has been set up in Kyle Stocking’s name at the Granite Credit Union.
The Stockings have no desire to see the rope swings shut down but are trying to set up a memorial at the site to remind thrill seekers that someone has died and what they’re doing is risky.
Man dead after Corona Arch rope swing accident