Daniel Moore, 22, fell to his death during a BASE jumping accident on Saturday, Nov. 23.
Moore, a well-known BASE jumper, was jumping with friends at the G-Spot BASE jumping exit on the cliffs above State Route 128 and the Colorado River.
According to witnesses, Moore jumped and appeared to be in an "unusually head-high position" and was waving his arms to gain stability.
He did gain stability and reached back to grab the chute release and missed it. He was successful on his second attempt and the chute deployed. His chute completely deployed too late and he impacted the area below the cliff, stated a Moab City Police press release.
Grand County Search and Rescue responded and set up a command post at mile marker one on State Route 128.
Thirteen members of search and rescue, two of Moore's friends and Moab City Police detective Craig Shumway began the recovery of the body shortly after 4 p.m.
The total operation took four and a half hours. More than half of that time was setting up a safe trail and ropes for rescuers and the litter.
"It just takes time to respond; to get people on the scene and mobilized," said Jim Webster, the commander for search and rescue. “It takes time to set up lowering systems and then put the plan into place."
According to some members of the team, the conditions in the recovery area were treacherous due to a recent snow storm. The recovery team worked in icy rain and on muddy slopes.
“It was wet, slippery, cold and dark,” Webster said.
Moore was an experienced climber and BASE jumper who had been involved with rescues of fellow BASE jumpers here in Moab.
In October 2012 he was asked to assist in the rescue of Australian BASE jumper Matthew Pittard, whose chute caught on the cliff face in Mill Creek Canyon.
Craig Geipel, who helped carry gear for Moore during the rescue, said that Moore was “like a freak of nature when it comes to climbing,”
Moore was able to rappel to Pittard, assess the situation and bandage his wounds before lowering him to the ground to Grand County's Search and Rescue crew.
Moore also assisted in the rescue of Ammon McNeely, who nearly lost his leg and life in a BASE jumping accident on Oct. 25.
When McNeely's BASE jumping companions Andy Lewis, Hunter Shotwell and David Steiner saw that McNeely was injured, they called in Daniel Moore, Brent Cain and Scotty Rogers.
“Between Andy, Brent, Daniel, Scotty and Dave – I had the A-team right there,” McNeely said while recovering from the accident. “They all had good medical background and good rigging background. They were able to get to me and fix the ropes before search and rescue could get there.”
Moore and his friends were able to stabilize the injury, as well as drill a three-bolt anchor for fixed lines before Grand County Search and Rescue arrived with a litter.
McNeely is expected to make a full recovery.
Emily Dibley worked with Moore at Zax Restuarant.
She described him as “beautiful.”
“His blue eyes, his soul,” she said. “He was always happy, happy, happy.”
She said his positive energy was “contagious.”
“I speak for the whole Zax's crew – that he was a being of light and positivity,” Dibley said. “He was everyone's friend. We all loved Daniel.”
Daniel Moore was the first person Scott Ibex met when he moved to Moab.
“From the first time I shook his hand I could see an incredible light that beamed from him,” Ibex said.
He said that the two wrote songs together.
“He sung about his travels throughout the land, about nature which he loved so dearly,” Ibex said. “He sung from his soul.”
Ibex said that Moore died doing what he loved most.
“He lived as the most positive and light spirit you can imagine. He beamed the most comforting smile at everyone I ever saw him talk to,” Ibex said. “I can’t say enough about what a kind and valued heart he gave freely to this world.”
Search and rescue has had 89 missions so far this year. This is the third BASE jumping incident for the year. Search and rescue responded to six BASE jumping incidents in 2012 and three in 2011. There were no BASE jumping incidents in 2010, according to search and rescue's statistics.
This is the first BASE jumping fatality in the Moab-area in ten years. Bill Frogge died upon impact while BASE jumping near the Echo Creek campground of Kane Creek on Jan. 25. 2003.
Search and rescue didn't respond to a second BASE jumping accident on Sunday, Nov. 24. Thayer Healey, 33, of Newark, Ohio, was BASE jumping with friends along State Route 279 in an area known as Wall Street.
Healey was the third of three people who jumped shortly after noon. He struck the wall then tumbled an additional 150 to 200 feet. He was taken to Moab Regional Hospital with serious injuries by Grand County Emergency Medical Services.