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Two men killed in separate rappelling-related falls in Utah's San Rafael Swell

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Posted at 4:47 PM, Apr 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-19 00:43:49-04

EMERY COUNTY, Utah — Two men died from their injuries after falling 50-70 feet over the weekend in the San Rafael Swell, located in central-southeastern Utah.

The first of the two accidents happened Friday, when a man was sitting on a boulder on a ledge and watching his friends rappel in the Upper Black Box area. The ledge broke loose and the man fell about 50 feet, according to the Emery County Sheriff’s Office. He landed in about 2-3 feet of water.


Two of the man's friends hiked to an area where they could get cell service and call for help, while the rest of the group attended to the man.

Search and rescue crews, with the assistance of helicopter crews, responded to the area and rappelled down into the canyon so they could begin treating the man. However, they could not hoist him out because of "difficult overhangs and loose rock which would cause delays and added risk," the sheriff's office wrote in a press release. They eventually managed to carry him up the canyon to where a helicopter had landed.

The man was taken to a hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries.

Officials identified him as 50-year-old Craig Barlow from Salt Lake City.


READ: Moab climber nearly loses hand in 30-foot fall

The second fatal fall happened in Farnsworth Canyon on Saturday, when a man fell about 70 feet while rappelling after his anchor broke loose.

A helicopter was also sent to this incident, but it had to be called off due to dangerously strong winds.

Search and rescue crews rappelled down and got the man ready to be lifted out, and the wind had died down enough for the helicopter to respond.


According to the sheriff's office, however, his condition became worse as he was hoisted out of the canyon.

The medical helicopter crew attempted lifesaving measures for almost hour before he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The victim in this fall has been identified as 41-year-old Arlo Lott from Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

"Emery County Sheriff’s Office expresses sincere condolences to the families and friends of these two men. We also appreciate all agencies who responded to these two tragic accidents," the press release read.