Authorities ID man who died in Lake Powell fall

Willow Gulch in the Escalante Arm of Lake Powell. Photo: National Park Service

ESCALANTE, Utah, Nov. 11, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — On the morning of Oct. 8, dispatchers at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area received a report that a man had fallen from Willow Gulch in the Escalante Arm of Lake Powell.

The man’s fall was witnessed from a nearby vessel, and those on board tried to render aid. The man was pronounced deceased by a medical professional on the vessel.

Officials have now identified the victim as Cory James Christensen, 49, of Flagstaff, Arizona.

According to a joint news release from the National Park Service and Kane County Sheriff’s Office, Christensen was wearing a backpack when he fell. It contained information and keys that led to a search for a vehicle.

The Kane County Sheriff’s Office located the vehicle by air and the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office confirmed it was the one they were looking for.

“The vehicle was located in Garfield County about 8 miles south of Escalante on the Hole in the Rock Road, at the Zebra-Tunnel Slot Trail parking lot,” the news release states. “His vehicle was approximately 35 miles from the location of the fall.”

Investigators interviewed witnesses who had seen Christensen elsewhere and it is believed he was traveling alone.

“Bicycle parts were found in his backpack and investigators are considering the possibility that he rode an off-road bike from his vehicle to an area near his fall” the release says.

It is estimated that the fall into Lake Powell was between 350 and 400 feet.

The incident is being investigated by the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, National Park Service, and the Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office.

Anyone who has any information about this case is asked to call the Kane County Sheriff’s Office at 435-644-2349.

The National Park Service added a reminder for visitors to be cautious when recreating in our national parks. This incident was the 13th fatality at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area this year.


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