Zoe McKinney Utah teen falls 30ft to her death hiking along Moab Kane Creek Canyon after getting too close to cliff’s edges.
A 17-year-old girl plunged 30 feet to her death after falling from a ledge off of a Utah hiking trail.
Zoe McKinney was hiking with a group of friends on the trail near Kane Creek in the town of Moab, Friday afternoon when she fell to her death.
At some point during the hike, McKinney had gotten too close to the edge of a steep area without equipment before falling off the ledge. It remained unclear how the teen came to get too close to the edge of the ledge and why she wasn’t using equipment. It also remained unclear if there were signs warning hikers to stay away from the cliff’s edges.
Police received a call regarding McKinney’s fall at around 4:10 p.m., with officials struggling to reach her due to how far she’d fallen, calling it a ‘deep, cliffy area.’
With help from several other departments in the region, an officer was able to rappel down using ropes and harnesses to reach the 17-year-old. McKinney was pronounced dead at the scene.
A Moab, Utah, teen fell to her death Friday afternoon while hiking the Moab Rim Trail in the Kane Creek Canyon area, according to a statement from the Moab City Police Department https://t.co/T1XLtgUwLE
— CNN (@CNN) February 11, 2023
Assistant Chief Lex Bell of Moab Police said that he knew McKinney and felt that the entire community would be heartbroken over her death.
‘She’s really well-known in the community and I’ve met her,’ Bell said. ‘It’s unbelievably tragic.’
McKinney was set to receive an award from her school – Grand County High School – at halftime of the varsity basketball game that very evening.
‘The timing is even just that much more tragic with tonight and what was going to occur,’ Bell added.
FLOWERS FOR ZOE 💐: A memorial is forming near the Moab Rim Trail where 17yo Zoe McKinney was hiking with friends on Friday when she fell from a 30ft cliff💔. @KUTV2News pic.twitter.com/Bx4f0aHkO2
— Arielle Harrison (@ArielleHarrison) February 12, 2023
Widely adored in the community
The assistant police chief referred to Moab and Grand County as a very close community where everyone knew each other and that McKinney had numerous family and friends in the area.
‘We’re all very emotional. Some much more than others. A lot of us are fathers and mothers of children about that age. Myself included,’ Bell told KUTV. ‘These are the hardest things that we deal with. So yeah, there were a lot of tears on scene and there will be.’
Grand County High School made a statement identifying McKinney on Friday evening.
‘The school community is grieving with Zoe’s family and will provide love and support in any way we can, including having therapists available at school on Monday. Zoe was a remarkable student and we will honor her memory throughout the remainder of this senior year,’ school officials wrote.
The school district provided a hotline for any students seeking counseling following McKinney’s passing.