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Virginia man dies while canyoneering in Utah
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Virginia man dies while canyoneering in Utah

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SPRINGDALE, Utah — A Virginia man has died while canyoneering in Southern Utah’s Zion National Park, authorities said.

Andrew Arvig, 31, of Chesapeake, Virginia, was on a trip with two other people in the park known for its spectacular red-rock cliffs, officials said in a statement. The group started on the trip through Heaps Canyon Saturday but had trouble negotiating the last few rappels.

Arvig accidently rappelled past a small rock ledge where he needed to land and re-anchor his rope before rappelling the remaining distance to the ground, authorities said.

His two companions used their ‘pull line’ to rappel to the perch, but Arvig was stuck, unable to ascend up the 20 feet (6 meters) back to the ledge.

The group tried to call search and rescue, but the calls failed due to poor reception. A search and rescue operation began Sunday morning with more than 30 people and two helicopters.

Crews lowered Arvig to the ground, where he was pronounced dead. They also helped the other two people down from the cliff.

The popular Upper and Middle Emerald Pools Trails were closed for about a day to allow for rescue operations.

Arvig’s cause of death is under investigation.

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