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Woman found dead after hiking accident on Antelope Island

Posted at 8:08 PM, Feb 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 18:35:17-05

ANTELOPE ISLAND, Utah — A woman was found dead on Antelope Island Friday night after an apparent hiking accident.

At about 6 p.m., authorities received a report that 40-year-old Samantha Weigel of Syracuse was missing. She was supposed to meet up with her family in the Frary Peak area after going hiking by herself early that morning, but she didn't show up.

The Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter first went out, and crews spotted Weigel from the air in the area of Elephant Head and Split Rock Bay (on the northwest portion of the island).

They confirmed that she was deceased, and it then turned into a recovery mission.

Davis County Search and Rescue teams, as well as state park rangers and staff, were able to recover Weigel's body from the island later that night.

Her official cause of death will be determined by the state medical examiner, but officials said it appears she fell and sustained fatal injuries to her head and neck.

Melissa Soper, one of Weigel's friends, sent the following statement to FOX 13:

"Sam and I shared a love for the mountains. I am grateful to have walked in that space with her where you take your struggles, questions, frustrations and all the feelings to the trail and seek comfort, peace and ultimately draw closer to the Savior. There was always something to laugh about and by the end of each trail adventure, there was renewed strength to go back and tackle the hard things in life. Samantha is a beautiful soul, who always had something positive and kind to say. She found joy in nature and truly LIVED by doing what she loved."

Officials want to remind the public that it is always safer to hike in pairs or groups.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to benefit Weigel's immediate family.