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Newlywed dies after BASE jump attempt in Zion National Park in Utah

By Jethro Mullen, CNN
updated 5:03 PM EST, Mon February 10, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A 28-year-old woman falls about 2,000 feet after her parachute fails to open properly
  • She and her husband of two weeks had hiked up a mountain in Zion National Park
  • He was unable to reach her and had to seek help from park authorities to recover her body
  • She was an experienced BASE jumper, but the activity is illegal in the park, authorities say

(CNN) -- A newlywed woman died after plunging about 2,000 feet in a BASE jumping attempt in Utah's rugged Zion National Park, authorities said Sunday.

Amber Bellows, 28, and her husband of two weeks, Clayton Butler, climbed up Mount Kinesava, a 7,276-foot peak that overlooks the park, on Saturday, the National Park Service said.

The Salt Lake City couple were said to be experienced BASE jumpers -- in which participants leap from fixed objects, such as mountains or buildings, using parachutes to slow their falls.

The risky activity is illegal inside Zion National Park, authorities said.

Bellows jumped first on Saturday afternoon, but her parachute didn't open properly, Butler told authorities. He said he jumped after her, but he couldn't reach her.

Butler, 29, then hiked out of the remote area to find help, alerting park authorities at about 6:30 p.m.

Recovery teams located Bellows' body around 10 a.m. Sunday. Using a helicopter, they hoisted her from the difficult terrain to a nearby ambulance, the Park Service said.

"Both Clayton and Amber are conscientious, experienced BASE jumpers and this was a tragic accident," Joshua Lloyd, her manager and videographer, said Monday. "Amber will be missed throughout the entire community and we ask for privacy and respect for the family at this time."

Lloyd said he'd been told her jump looked fine at first, but her main parachute didn't deploy properly.

Her death, the first of a BASE jumper in the park, is under investigation, authorities said.

"It is just really sad, and our condolences go out to her family and friends," said Jim Milestone, the acting superintendent of the park.

"BASE jumping is so dangerous," Milestone said in a statement. "Even for those that are experienced, like Amber Bellows. That is one of the reasons it is not allowed in the park."

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CNN's Dave Alsup contributed to this report.

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