A man has fallen to his death while hiking with his fianceé's 9-year-old son above a waterfall.
The incident occurred at approximately 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 17, when 40-year-old Adrian Vanderklis of Roosevelt, Utah, was climbing near Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon with the 9-year-old son of his fiancée when the boy, who was uninjured, climbed down from where the pair had been hiking on his own to find his mother, according to a statement from the Utah County Sheriff’s Office (UCSO).
“The woman reported that she could see her son, who was crying, but that she could not see her fiancé, and that she hadn't seen him for ‘several hours,’” said the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities were subsequently alerted about the missing man and Utah County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue volunteers were dispatched to the scene along with a helicopter crew from the Utah Department of Public Safety.
The body of Vanderklis was discovered shortly after at approximately 7:45 p.m. on a “very steep, near vertical, slope about 1/3 of a mile west of Bridal Veil Falls at an elevation of about 5,800 feet,” according to the UCSO.
A team of Search and Rescue volunteers were able to get to Vanderklis and discovered that he did not survive his injuries sustained in the fall but had to call off the recovery operation of his body due to declining light.
“Darkness set in, making a recovery of Mr. Vanderklis's body extremely dangerous,” said the UCSO. “The operation was called off late Saturday night due to darkness and resumed Sunday morning at 7:00. [Search and Rescue] volunteers were shuttled to the location of Mr. Vanderklis's body. After securing him and preparing him to be hoisted off the cliff, the DPS helicopter crew returned and brought Mr. Vanderklis off the mountain. His body was taken to the Medical Examiner's office for an autopsy.”
Authorities said it is unclear what caused Vanderklis to fall but they think it is possible that he stumbled or slipped on some loose material where he was hiking. They also confirmed that the boy he was with did not see the accident occur but they believe he was killed immediately as a result of his fall.
“The Utah County Sheriff's Office extends our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Mr. Vanderklis and his fiancée and her family,” said the UCSO.
The investigation into Vaderklis’ death is ongoing.