Authorities suspect Adrian Vanderklis may have stumbled or slipped on "loose material"

By Rachel DeSantis
July 20, 2021 11:23 AM
Adrian Vanderklis
Adrian Vanderklis
| Credit: Utah County Sheriff's Office

A 40-year-old man out for a hike with his fiancée's young son died after he fell near Bridal Veil Falls in Utah on Saturday, authorities said.

Adrian Vanderklis was exploring the falls in Provo Canyon with the 9-year-old boy when he was reported missing around 7 p.m., the Utah County Sheriff's Office said in a press release.

"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,'" the release said.

Search and rescue volunteers and a helicopter eventually found Vanderklis about 45 minutes later "on a very steep, near vertical slope" about a third of a mile west of Bridal Veil Falls at an elevation of about 5,800 feet, authorities said.

"A team of SAR volunteers made their way to the victim and determined he apparently fell and did not survive his injuries," the release said. "It appeared he was killed immediately as a result of the fall."

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Authorities said the cause of Vanderklis' fall remains unclear, but that he may have stumbled or slipped on "loose material." The boy was with him when he fell, but did not witness the actual fall, and was able to come down from the mountain himself without injury, the release said.

A GoFundMe page organized by a friend of Vanderklis' fiancée Shantell said he was his family's sole provider, and left behind three children, the youngest of whom was just 9 months old.

"Adrian was a[n] amazing father, friend and person who would help whoever he could," the page said. "The family was in the middle of a move from eastern Utah, for employment reasons. This has not only left the family with the extra expenses for his final wishes but it has left them pretty much homeless. With the circumstances it may be a while for Shantell to be able to get back on her feet and to provide for the family fully."

The Utah County Sheriff's Office said the recovery for Vanderklis' body was called off on Saturday night due to dangerous conditions, but resumed the next morning at 7 a.m.

His body was eventually recovered by search and rescue volunteers with help from a helicopter crew, and was taken to the medical examiner's office for an autopsy, authorities said.

"The Utah County Sheriff's Office extends our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Mr. Vanderklis and his fiancée and her family," the release said.