A woman fell to her death early Sunday morning in the Malloy Park area on Wilson Mesa, approximately 13 miles east of Moab.
Elizabeth Stiles Patterson, 23, of Telluride, Colo., and Moab was camping with friends when the accident occurred.
Patterson is the daughter of Steve and Jenny Patterson, who are partners in restaurant Eddie McStiff’s. She lived in Moab and attended school at Red Rock Elementary until 1997.
Patterson set up camp with two friends in an area that overlooks Castle Valley Saturday night.
Her companions reported that she had left camp to use the bathroom at 1 a.m. Patterson was not in the camp in the morning and some of her belongings were found near the edge of the cliff.
Grand County Search and Rescue responded to the call made by her friends at 6:22 a.m. Her body was found at approximately 8:50 a.m.
Patterson fell approximately 70 feet, then tumbled an additional 100 feet from the ledge where her belongings were found. The campsite was 75 feet from the ledge where Patterson fell.
This is the fifth fatal accident that Search and Rescue has responded to this year.
On March 13, Zachary Taylor, age 20 of Moab, died after falling 110 feet while rappelling with friends near Tear Drop Arch in the Pritchett Canyon area.
Eleven days later, on March 24, Kyle Lee Stocking, age 22 of West Jordan, died while attempting to rope swing on Corona Arch. He fell to his death due to too much slack in the line.
Adam Jason Weber, 32, of Salt Lake City fell after he dismounted a rope swing in Day Canyon and was about to prepare to rappel off a cliff on May 5. Two days later on May 7 Christina Elizabeth Allen,19, of San Diego, Calif., was climbing on cliffs when she was killed in a rock slide in the Kane Creek area south of Moab.
Grand County Search and Rescue has responded to 39 incidents so far this year, giving a ratio of one in eight missions that is responding to a fatal accident.
Search and Rescue had a record number of missions last year with 108. Yet, even with the record number of calls, they responded to only two fatalities in 2012.
Grand County Search and Rescue commander Jim Webster said that he and Andy Smith, the director of Emergency Medical Services (EMS), have talked about the rash of fatalities.
“We understand the stress that it puts on people,” Webster said. “His staff are as affected by it as we are.”
Search and Rescue and EMS will be holding a joint meeting where a psychologist will discuss how to manage stress relating to traumatic events.
“We’re trying to keep an eye on how folks are doing and provide tools through training on how to manage stress from these types of incidents,” Webster said. “It’s hard, but we’re hanging in there.”