Plunge Down Cliff Kills Teenage Hiker

Utah community mourns Zoe Afton McKinney
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2023 3:05 PM CST
Teenage Hiker Killed in Fall From Trail
Kane Creek Road above Kane Springs Canyon near Moab, Utah.   (Getty/lightphoto)

A 17-year-old hiker died in a fall at Kane Creek Canyon in east Utah when she slipped and plunged down what police called "a sheer cliff face." Friends were unable to get to Zoe Afton McKinney, about 30 feet below, NBC News reports. Emergency crews with harnesses and climbing gear that roped down to the spot said she died in the fall Friday afternoon from the Moab Rim Trail.

McKinney was a senior at Grand County High School, which created "Zoe Strong" shirts" to raise money for her family. A memorial of flowers was set up at the trailhead, per KUTV. "There were a lot of tears, and there will be, but this is a tight-knit community," said Lex Bell, an assistant Moab police chief, "and everybody already is coming together and supporting each other." A school district statement called McKinney "a remarkable student." Lloyd Gist, her boyfriend, said, "She was just the sweetest—if anyone asked her to do anything she would be jumping on it instantly." Also, he said, "She had the brightest smile." (More hiking death stories.)

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