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Two men fell to their deaths in separate rappelling accidents while canyoneering in Utah last week, authorities said.
The incidents occurred over a two-day period in two different canyons located within the San Rafael Swell in Emery County, the Emery County Sheriff’s Office said.
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The first fatal fall happened Friday in the Upper Black Box canyon area.
Craig Barlow, 50, of Salt Lake City, was watching his friends rappel while sitting on a boulder near a ledge when the ledge broke loose and he fell approximately 50 feet, landing in two to three feet of water, the sheriff’s office said.
Two members of his group had to hike to a spot with better cell service to call for help, while others attended to the man.
Search and Rescue members arrived in the rugged canyon terrain, rigged up and rappelled into the canyon, according to officials. However, they were unable to hoist the victim out due to difficult overhangs and loose rock. First responders carried him up the canyon and climbed a 40-foot sandy embankment to reach the helicopter.
Barlow was airlifted to a hospital where he later died from his injuries.
The second fatal fall happened Saturday in Farnsworth Canyon.
A man, later identified as 41-year-old Arlo Lott, of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, was rappelling when his rappel anchor broke loose from the cliff and he fell approximately 70 feet, authorities said.
Search and rescue crews conducted a rope rescue after high winds initially prevented a helicopter from reaching the canyon. They rappelled down to Lott and hoisted him out of the canyon.
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As Lott was raised from the canyon, officials said his condition worsened. The medical flight crew arrived and attempted lifesaving measures for nearly an hour before declaring him dead at the scene.
“Emery County Sheriff’s Office expresses sincere condolences to the families and friends of these two men,” the sheriff’s office said. “We also appreciate all agencies who responded to these two tragic accidents.”