A woman went from bystander to hero in a matter of moments after a base jumping accident—one of multiple during the annual Turkey Boogie event—played out before her eyes.
A 35-year-old base jumper from Australia spun out of control and struck a wall after jumping from the 400-foot Tombstone in Kane Creek Canyon on Nov. 26. His parachute snagged on a ledge, leaving him dangling 80 feet above the ground.
A nearby woman, identified by KSL as River Barry of Millcreek, began climbing up the wall to reach the man after spying a crack in the rock leading to him. Though the line was previously unclimbed, Barry said she felt confident and climbed to the man, placed an anchor, removed the man’s parachute and lowered him to safety where first responders treated him and airlifted the man to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction.
Search and rescue responded to four other incidents, including a 39-year-old base jumper from Australia who struck a wall jumping from the Crown exit point in Kane Creek Canyon, according to SAR officials. First responders hiked to the top of a steep and rugged slope where the man was and used a two-stage technical rope-lowering system to transport him to an ambulance. A 38-year-old man from North Carolina suffered an ankle injury after falling 20 feet while ascending a fixed rope in the Fisher Towers area, a 47-year-old BASE jumper was injured when he struck a wall near Cable Arch, and the previous weekend, another BASE jumper struck a wall below the Crown exit point and had to be lowered by a rope system to the road.
“BASE jumpers from around the world gathered in Moab during Thanksgiving week for the annual festival and fund-raising event,” noted SAR officials in a Facebook post. “Each year, the BASE jumpers’ fundraiser results in significant donations of several thousand dollars to Grand County Search and Rescue, as well as other local groups. The donations assist in purchasing equipment and providing specialized training for GCSAR members.”