Newlywed killed in BASE jumping accident identified

By ABC 4 News

Published 02/09 2014 04:08PM

Updated 02/09 2014 05:35PM

SPRINGDALE, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) -- A Salt Lake City woman was with her husband of two weeks when she fell to her death Saturday during a BASE jumping accident in Zion National Park.

Zion Spokeswoman Aly Baltrus identified the victim as 28-year-old Amber Bellows, who fell approximately 2,000 feet after her parachute failed to open properly. Bellows and her new husband, 29-year-old Clayton Butler, hiked up Mount Kinesava Saturday morning. Butler told park officials that Bellows jumped first and saw that her chute didn't open properly.

Butler then jumped after her but was unable to reach her. He hiked out to get help and notified the park of the incident at about 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.

The park used a helicopter from Grand Canyon National Park to recover Bellows' body Sunday morning. In a statement, park officials said they didn't want to pose an unnecessary risk for a nighttime recovery effort since she fell in remote and rugged terrain and the exact location of her body was unknown Saturday night.

Two park rangers recovered the woman's body at about 10 a.m. Sunday morning and hoisted it into a waiting ambulance. The accident is still under investigation, according to Baltrus.

BASE jumping is illegal within the borders of the national park. According to Zion, this was the first fatality in the park in 2014 and the first ever of a BASE jumper within its borders.

"It is just really sad, and our condolences go out to her family and friends," Acting Superintendent Jim Milestone said in a statement. "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."

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