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Updated: Thursday Was A Deadly Day In The National Park System


Editor's note: This corrects that five of the six deaths were in national parks, the sixth was just outside Grand Teton National Park.

At least five people lost their lives in the National Park System this week, all on Thursday.

Three of the deaths came from a boating accident at Lake Powell in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Utah, while a climber died in a freak accident at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, and a hiker was washed over a waterfall to his death in Kings Canyon National Park in California. A sixth death was attributed to the cardiac arrest of a visitor just outside Grand Teton's borders.

According to Salt Lake media reports, a powerboat carrying 13 people crashed into a house boat near the Dangling Rope Marina shortly before 9:30 a.m. Thursday. A 57-year-old woman was killed in the crash, and two other young women were missing and presumed dead, according to the reports.

Initial comments from authorities indicated that the boat's driver might have been distracted by children and couldn't react in time to avoid the houseboat. No one on the houseboat was injured.

Scuba teams tried Friday to find the two missing women, but ran into technical problems. The divers were to return to the water Saturday to resume the search.

At Grand Teton, a 55-year-old Colorado Springs, Colorado, man died as a result of slipping into the icy water of a moat near a rock band while coming down the mountain after a successful ascent. Park officials said the man, Gary Miller, was on a guided climb with one of the park's authorized concessionaires.

While climbing guides successfully extricated Mr. Miller from the moat on the North Fork of Garnet Canyon before rangers arrived at the site, he later was pronounced dead from the accident.

"Six rangers were flown to a temporary landing zone near the moat location in Garnet Canyon. Rescuers raised Miller to a site where he could be flown in a rescue litter via short-haul to Lupine Meadows by a Teton Interagency contract helicopter," said park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs.

"A ranger attended Miller below the helicopter on the flight to the park’s rescue cache. Once at the rescue cache, they were met by a team of park medical providers led by Dr. Will Smith of St. John’s Medical Center, and an Air Idaho Life Flight ship waiting to provide transport to critical care in Idaho Falls. Miller was pronounced dead at 8:35 p.m. at the rescue cache and his body turned over to the Teton Country coroner."

Additional details were expected to be available once an incident investigation is completed.

Earlier Thursday, a 56-year-old man was pronounced dead after an hour of CPR was administered on location just beyond the park's boundary in the Buffalo Valley of Teton County.

At Kings Canyon National Park, 47-year-old David Breuer, of Mishawaka, Indiana, was hiking with his family at Mist Falls, a cascade 4 miles from Road's End in the park, when he left the trail to take a closer look at the 100-foot waterfall, slipped, and was washed over, a park release said.

Other park visitors tried unsuccessfully to revive him.

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