Authorities say a 17-year-old girl from Utah died Friday when she fell 30 feet off a “sheer cliff face” while hiking with friends on the Moab Rim Trail.
The Moab City Police Department said that Zoe McKinney slipped and fell off the cliff around 4:10 p.m. in the Kane Creek Canyon area. “Our hearts still ache tremendously for this beautiful young woman’s family and friends,” the department said.
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McKinney’s friends called 911 and tried to find a way to get down to where the 17-year-old fell, but police told them there was no safe way to do so. First responders raced to the trail and quickly began working to get to the area above where the teen fell.
Rescuers rappelled to the teen using harnesses and climbing gear with ropes. When they reached the adolescent, they discovered that she had passed away as a result of the fall. Officials struggled over the next two hours to recover her body.
The Grand County School District verified in a statement that the teen who died in the fall was McKinney, a high school student.
“Zoe was a remarkable student and we will honor her memory throughout the remainder of this senior year,” adding that therapists would be available at the school on Monday while the school community grieves.
McKinney’s pals told FOX13 Salt Lake City that she was a cheerleader with “a large heart” and recalled her as a “very loving friend.”
“She was working on getting her EMT license, because that’s all she wanted to do was help people,” said Iryss, McKinney’s friend.
Moab Police Chief Jared Garcia said in a statement that he hopes the community will support each other and McKinney’s family during this time.
“We recognize the devastating impact the loss of a beloved young woman and friend has in this small community, but know that wonderful people of Moab will band together to support and comfort her family and friends at this time,” Garcia said.