20-Year-Old Utah Woman Dies in Switzerland Hiking Accident While on Church Mission

Annabelle Nielsen slipped and fell while hiking with five other missionaries

Annabelle Nielsen
Annabelle Nielsen.

A young Utah woman has died while serving as a missionary in Switzerland.

Annabelle Nielsen died Tuesday after she "tragically slipped and fell down a steep incline" while hiking with five other missionaries, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in a statement Wednesday.

Nielsen, 20, began her mission in July 2019 at the church's Alpine German-Speaking Mission in Switzerland.

"We express our sincere condolences to her family and loved ones," church spokesperson Daniel Woodruff said in a statement. "We pray they will feel the peace and comfort of our loving Heavenly Father as they deal with this tragedy and honor her life."

"We also pray for the other missionaries who were with Sister Nielsen at the time of the accident and are working to provide them with the necessary support as they process what happened," Woodruff added.

Annabelle Nielsen
Annabelle Nielsen. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Further details about the location of the hike and circumstances around her fall were not immediately available.

Family spokesperson Rodger Lyman told Deseret News that Nielsen's family was informed of her death on Tuesday.

"Annabelle was a sweet, sweet young girl, just a wonderful young woman," said Lyman, the first counselor in the Highland Utah Central Stake. "We’ve known her almost her whole life. Just fun, fun to be around, very kind and loving, very active."

Annabelle Nielsen
Annabelle Nielsen. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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Lyman added to the outlet that Nielsen's "family is struggling, as anyone would, but keeping the faith."

Last summer, Nielsen shared an Instagram post shortly before departing for her mission.

"I’m out of here on tuesday!!" she wrote in the caption for a headshot, going on to invite her friends and family to keep in touch while she was away. A few months prior, she shared the news of her assignment on Instagram.

A GoFundMe campaign has since been created to raise money for "the service of others in need" in honor of Nielsen's "example of kindness and service."

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