Police identify woman who died near Bridal Veil Falls

Published: Thursday, Nov. 14 2013 9:05 a.m. MST

Kaitlin Keeney, 20, of Salt Lake County, died while returning from a hike above Bridal Veil Falls Wednesday.

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PROVO — Police have identified a woman who died after falling above Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon.

Salt Lake County resident Kaitlin Keeney, 20, had been hiking with a female friend Wednesday when she slipped and fell about 40 feet, receiving a severe head injury, according to Utah County Sheriff's Lt. Yvette Rice.

The two had hiked to the top of Bridal Veil Falls and were past the more difficult part of the hike when Keeney fell, Rice said.

"(It's) just a really, really tragic accident," she said.

Dispatchers received a call from Keeney's friend around 5:35 p.m. reporting that she had fallen from above Bridal Veil Falls. A medical helicopter responded to the scene, but rescuers were unable to safely hoist the woman from the canyon.

Search and rescue crews and paramedics responded, but Keeney died before they could reach her.

"Our thoughts are with the Keeney family as they deal with the tragic loss of their daughter at this time. Additionally, we apologize for the incorrect initial reporting of Kaitlin as a male," the sheriff's office said in a statement.

Police do not suspect any suspicious activity in her death.

Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon said authorities receive about a half-dozen calls annually for those who have been injured on the climb.

"Part of the problem is it is accessible, and it's not a highly technical climb, but it's not by any means an easy climb, even just to climb to the first level," Cannon said. "There's some danger there, and then when people get there, it's easy to get into a situation where they've gone beyond their skills and abilities and certainly beyond any equipment they have with them."

Waterfall areas are "inherently very slippery," Rice said. Over time, the rocks become smooth when the water hits them, and accumulated moss or algae contribute to this.

"And there's not a lot of stuff to hang on to, to steady your balance," she said.

Keeney was wise to go hiking with a friend, Rice said, but because of the extent of her injuries, there was not much rescue crews could do.

"You know, unfortunately with accidents, they are just that. You can be careful and you can do everything right, as right as you can, and still accidents occur," she said.

Rice encouraged hikers to go with a friend or let someone know when they will be back. She also suggested that hikers bring proper clothing, food and water, especially if they are hiking after dark.

Email: wevans@deseretnews.com

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