Woman, 26, Dies After Falling at Least 50 Feet in Canyon at Zion National Park

A Facebook post identified the canyoneer as Cassy Brown, a guide at Zion Adventure Company

Zion National Park
Zion National Park. Photo: Getty

A 26-year-old woman canyoneering in Zion National Park died after she fell between 50 and 80 feet in a canyon, according to authorities.

Park rangers recovered her body in Mystery Canyon on Sunday night, one day after teams launched a search and rescue mission based on reports from park visitors, Zion National Park said in a press release.

A preliminary investigation found that the woman was canyoneering alone in Mystery Canyon and sustained injuries "consistent with a high elevation fall" after she fell between 50 and 80 feet down, the release said.

A rescue helicopter was called in, but was unable to reach the woman due to the steep and narrow walls of the canyon. Park medics eventually reached her just before she died of her injuries.

Authorities did not name the woman, but a Facebook post identified her as Cassy Brown, an outfitter and guide at Zion Adventure Company.

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Tom Jones, a former employee of the company, wrote in the post that Brown was doing a solo descent of an "easy" canyon when her rope became stuck on a rappel. Jones said Brown ascended the rope, but that it released, and she fell.

"Cassy was one of the most capable canyoneers I know," Jones wrote. "Canyoneering solo always carries greater risk, but for a very competent canyoneer, Mystery Canyon is a mild solo. Getting your rope stuck can happen to any of us. Ascending a stuck rope is a risky endeavor, only to be undertaken when all other options have been exhausted. In a trade route canyon, waiting for the next party to show up is often a good choice."

Zion Adventure Company, which helps visitors explore the area, lists Brown as a guide and outfitter on its staff page.

A spokesperson for the company confirmed Brown's death in a statement to PEOPLE.

"Cassy has been a beloved member of our staff for a number of years. She was well respected not just by us, but by the Zion and local canyoneering communities," the statement read. "She was dedicated to service and sharing her knowledge and love of the outdoors with others. It has been our privilege to know her and she will be dearly missed for years to come."

Spokespersons for Zion National Park and the Washington County Sheriff's Office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

The incident is under investigation by the National Park Service and the sheriff's office, the release said.

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