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BASE jump victim identified, body recovered

Published: Sunday, Feb. 9 2014 4:44 p.m. MST

Amber Bellows

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ZION NATIONAL PARK — Crews on Sunday recovered the body of a 28-year-old Salt Lake City woman killed in a BASE jumping accident.

Amber Marie Bellows, 28, whom park spokeswoman Aly Baltrus described as an experienced jumper, attempted a BASE jump off Mount Kinesava. Based on witness accounts, the jump happened about 4 p.m. Saturday. Her parachute failed to open and she dropped approximately 2,000 feet to her death.

Her husband of two weeks, Clayton Butler, 29, who was in Zion National Park with Bellows, told investigators that he jumped after her but could not reach her. He hiked out of the park and contacted park employees about 6:30 p.m.

Because Bellows was confirmed to be dead, crews waited until daylight to begin the recovery effort. Where Bellows fell is "fairly remote and in difficult terrain," Baltrus said in a statement, although her specific location is still unknown.

Around 10 a.m. Sunday morning, crews located Bellows' body. Two National Parks Service rescuers were lowered by helicopter and lifted Bellows out to an ambulance, Baltrus said.

Word of Bellows' death hit the skydiving community in Utah hard Sunday. She had close ties to Skydive Utah in Erda, as well as Skydive Ogden. Representatives from both facilities said they were too upset to talk to the Deseret News and KSL on Sunday.

BASE jumping is not allowed in Zion National Park. The accident was the first fatality in Zion this year and the first ever BASE jumping incident in the park, Baltrus said.

"It is just really sad and our condolences go out to her family and friends. 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," Jim Milestone, National Parks Service acting superintendent, said in a statement.

Additional information will be posted as it becomes available.

—Pat Reavy

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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