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Officials identify woman killed in BASE jumping accident at Zion National Park

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Posted at 8:28 AM, Feb 09, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-09 15:16:37-05

ZION NATIONAL PARK --Search and rescue crews have retrieved the body of a Salt Lake City woman who died in a BASE jumping accident at Zion National Park Saturday afternoon, officials said Sunday.

According to a press release from park spokeswoman Aly Baltrus, the victim is 28-year-old Amber Bellows of Salt Lake City, and she was in the area jumping with her husband of two-weeks, Clayton Butler.

The accident occurred at approximately 2:30 p.m. when Bellows' parachute didn’t open properly after jumping off of Mt. Kinesava, located toward the front of the park near Springdale, Baltrus said. In the press release, Baltrus indicated it is estimated Bellows fell about 2,000 feet.

Butler BASE jumped after her, Baltrus said, but was unable to reach her. Butler reported her death to park officials at approximately 4:30 p.m.

"It is just really sad, and our condolences go out to her family and friends,” said Acting Superintendent Jim Milestone in the press release. “BASE jumping is so dangerous. Even for those that are experienced, like Amber Bellows. That is one of the reasons it is not allowed in the park.”

Baltrus said both the man and woman are from Salt Lake City and are experienced BASE jumpers.

The park borrowed a helicopter from the Grand Canyon National Park, which was used to recover the body.

This is the first fatal BASE jumping accident in the park, Baltrus said.

BASE jumping is prohibited in the park. Baltrus said in the press release. The accident is under investigation. She said this is the first fatal accident of any kind to occur in the park this year.