Police identify woman who died after falling about 100 feet at Donut Falls

Posted at 3:50 PM, Jun 07, 2014

BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah – A woman died after she fell about 100 feet while hiking with family members in the Donut Falls area of Big Cottonwood Canyon Saturday afternoon.

Reports of the incident began to come in around 3:20 p.m., and shortly after 4 p.m. officials with the Unified Police Department stated in a tweet that this was a fatal fall and not a drowning.

Police identified the woman Sunday as 40-year-old Ana Maria Raya of Salt Lake County. Police initially reported the victim's age as 41 but later corrected that information.

Ken Hansen of the Unified Police Department said witnesses saw the woman fall, go under the water and not come up, and he said witnesses reported she had been under the water for more than 30 minutes.

"It is eerie, it's something you don't forget, especially if you haven't seen one like that, it's kind of wild," said hiker Harvey McCain, who saw the body.

"It was in the water at the bottom of the falls," he said. "It looked like it was wedged into some rocks and it got pushed down to the bottom and got wedged and slowly the water was pushing it down."

Police said if you venture off the trail and up the rocks toward the falls, it can be very dangerous.

"If your familiar with that area, there is a lot of shell rock up in that area and so the area is slippery, it's a good idea to have good footwear when you're up there, but it is very slippery in that area," Hansen said.

The road leading to Donut Falls was closed for several hours as multiple agencies worked to recover the body and investigate the scene.

Fellow hikers said it's hard to imagine how such an innocent activity like hiking could turn out like this.

"It's just scary and sad; you feel bad for the family of the unfortunate person who had the accident today, so you do whatever you can to keep your kids safe while your hiking," said hiker Andrew Johnson.