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Man injured in cliff jumping accident at Echo Reservoir

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Posted at 10:07 PM, Jun 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-30 00:07:45-04

COALVILLE, Utah -- A 34-year-old man was injured while cliff diving at Echo Reservoir near Coalville Sunday.

State parks officials say Christopher McCarty was unable to get out of the water on his own and was flown to Salt Lake City where he remains hospitalized.

State park rangers say McCarty suffered serious injuries after his jump from a popular outcropping of rock into the reservoir.

“We don't have an exact measurement, but it was over 20 feet,” said Brian Kurta, assistant park manager at Rockport State Park.

State parks officials say there is nothing illegal about jumping off a rock and into the water, but they say the jumpers should be aware of the things beneath that they can't see.

“You have a lot of unknowns in the water,” Kurta said. “You have the rocky shoreline, murky water, anything your unaware of, is very difficult to know what you’re jumping into.”

With more than a hundred jumps, Jace Hirzel knows the fear and the thrill of cliff diving.

“You always have that thing in the back of your head, 'will I hit a rock,' or just 'what if something goes bad,'” Hirzel said. “Just falling through the air I guess, splashing hitting the water, pretty fun, gets the adrenaline going.”

YouTube videos show people cliff jumping at other popular places in Utah.

“It’s hard for me to watch that because I know the dangers,” Kurta said. “People wanna go out and enjoy themselves and think that the lake is just like a pool and use the cliffs as diving boards.”

Cliff jumping is against the rules at some state parks such as Sand Hollow and Hyrum Reservoir. But there is no statewide law against it.

Since 2003, at least two people have died while cliff jumping at Lake Powell.

McCarty is being treated at Intermountain Medical Center. His condition is unknown.