Utah teen plunges to death while taking photos of canyon view

Jonathan Fielding  (Rebecca Fielding/Facebook)
Jonathan Fielding (Rebecca Fielding/Facebook)

A 19-year-old man has plunged to his death while taking photos of a Utah canyon, according to authorities.

Jonathan Fielding was hiking with friends on Saturday at around 5pm near the Moonscape Overlook, a popular area that overlooks Utah’s Blue Valley, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office said.

Tragically, the teeenager lost his footing on shaky ground and went over the canyon edge.

Officers believe he was trying to get a better view of the canyon when he fell, KUTV reported.

The teenager’s sister Rebecca echoed this turn of events in a Facebook post.

“Jonathan thought he was invincible. He was so young, so happy, so full of life. Nothing scared him. This kind of thing was never supposed to happen to him. It doesn’t feel right being in a world without him and I’d give anything to trade places with him,” Rebecca Fielding wrote.

“It was a tragic accident, but Jonathan should be a cautionary tale to anyone who hikes or does photography. Never trust the ground on the edge of a cliff,” her post continued.

“The rocks may look solid, the ground might seem like it will hold, but it’s still an eroding ticking time bomb ... No view is worth your life. No view is worth the suffering that your family and friends will go through. No view is worth the risk that rescuers face when trying to save people and recover bodies.”

Ms Fielding told ABC 4 her brother was killed instantly after he fell about 300 feet into the canyon.

His death has been ruled accidental by the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.

Moonscape overlook, Utah, where 19-year-old Jonathan Fielding died (Google Maps)
Moonscape overlook, Utah, where 19-year-old Jonathan Fielding died (Google Maps)

A GoFundMe page set up for the 19-year-old following his death has raised over $26,000 for expenses for his funeral, which is due to be held on Saturday.

“Jonathan is loved by many and was a great example of selfless love,” a message posted on the page read.

Conor Parry, the organiser of the GoFundMe, told KUTV that he had recently moved to Utah to start a new job after growing up in Missouri.

He described the 19-year-old as a “very genuine individual who is very interested in what’s going on in your life”.

“Jonathan is one of those kids who you’d walk away from and you’re still smiling,” Mr Parry added. “He is full of energy, and he would make you feel important when he’s talking to you.”

In an obituary posted online, Jonathan’s family said they are taking comfort in knowing he was “doing what he loved at the time of the accident”.

“He was on a photoshoot with friends in the beautiful Utah wilderness where he loved to be,” the family said.

Last year, a 17-year-old boy died after falling off a cliff at the Hurricane Overlook in Utah.

The tragedy occurred just a week after a 17-year-old girl died in a similar accident. The girl fell from a sheer cliff face while hiking with friends on the Moab Rim Trail.