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Contact: David Eaker, 435-772-7811
Contact: Bonnie Schwartz, 435-772-0172
Craig Forster, 55, of Salt Lake City, Utah, fell to his death while hiking in Zion National Park on Friday, November 28, 2008. The fall occurred in a small side canyon off State Highway 9, about two miles west of the East Entrance of the park. Zion National Park Superintendent Jock Whitworth and park staff expresses their sincere sympathy to the family of Craig Forster.
At approximately 3 p.m. last Friday, a visitor who witnessed the incident reported it to park rangers at the East Entrance of the park. The reporting party stated that a man had fallen about 20 feet, landed mainly on his head and was unconscious when he had left to get help. Forster’s hiking partners responded immediately and began CPR. Park rangers, who are also medics, arrived on the scene in about 12 minutes and continued CPR with the use of a Life Pak and Automated External Defibrillator, but were unable to revive him. Forster was then transferred to the Kane County Sheriff’s Medical Examiner.
A preliminary investigation by the NPS and the Kane County Sheriff concluded that Forster was attempting to descend a small slope in the canyon after scrambling up to a flat ledge with other hikers. He lost his footing and slid down a slope and was able to hang on for a short time before losing his grip and falling approximately 20 feet to his death. An investigation into the incident by the Kane County Sheriff’s Office in cooperation with the National Park Service continues.
The park would like to remind all visitors that hiking and climbing in the park can be dangerous, especially after a rain. Park users should always check for current conditions and warnings at the visitor center and remember that “your safety is your responsibility”.