Amber Bellows: Newlywed BASE Jumper Dies in Parachute AccidentBy: Jasmine Allen - February 10, 2014
A Utah woman fell to her death Saturday while BASE jumping with her newlywed husband at Zion National Park.
Amber Marie Bellows, 28, and 29-year-old Clayton Butler decided to take a leap off of a region located on Mount Kinesava, which dropped nearly 2,000 feet. The plateau itself is roughly 3,000 feet high surrounded by cliffs.
Butler says that they started BASE jumping around 4 p.m. Bellows jumped first, and clearly her parachute had issues with discharging.
Butler reported that it took him several hours to walk into town to find help, but by Sunday, Bellows body was retrieved by an emergency rescue helicopter.
Just after two weeks of marriage, the pair traveled all the way from Salt Lake City to partake in the extreme activity, which officials have confirmed to be illegal at the park.
“BASE jumping is so dangerous. Even for those that are experienced, like Amber Bellows. That is one of the reasons it is not allowed in the park,” park superintendent Jim Milestone said in a statement. (image)
A spokesperson confirmed that Bellows was the first BASE jumping fatality ever recorded at Zion National Park.
Bellows was reportedly an experience and avid skydiver for Skydive Utah and Skydive Ogden.
BASE jumping, however, is quite different from skydiving, which usually relates to diving out of planes from higher and safer heights or altitudes.
BASE is an acronym that stands for Building, Antenna, Span and Earth. In other terms, BASE-jumpers are usually diving very close to and from a fixed object at a much lower height.
Most jumpers in either sport can agree that BASE jumping seems to be the most dangerous of the two, especially when it pertains to opening your parachute in enough time.
According to an article by Rates To Go:
“The average skydiver takes at least three minutes (often longer) to reach the ground after opening his parachute. BASE jumpers have mere seconds until landing.
Most skydivers have a backup parachute in case the first one doesn’t open. BASE jumpers don’t have that luxury. Even if they could carry one, the speed of acceleration as they near the ground would not allow them time to open it. Despite the dangers, BASE jumpers around the world are driven by adrenaline and love searching for the next unique jump point.”
Here is a video showing just how thrilling but yet risky BASE jumping can be: