Boy, 16, does not survive fall at monument

A local 16-year-old died after falling Tuesday evening from the Independence Monument viewpoint in Colorado National Monument. The boy fell about 100 feet to a shelf just beyond the overlook’s nearly vertical sandstone walls.

“He was with three friends or cousins, and went outside of the railing area to another overlook area, and then apparently he fell,” said monument Superintendent Lisa Eckert.

Fire and rescue crews got the call at 5:03 p.m. and members of the Mesa County Search and Rescue team were on site by 6 p.m., making vocal contact with the victim and setting up a rescue effort with ropes and pulleys.

Medics with the Lower Valley Fire Protection District were able to reach the boy in time to begin medical treatment, according to Lower Valley Fire Chief Frank Cavaliere, but the boy died from “multiple trauma” at 6:20 p.m., according to Eckert.

By 8 p.m., a litter with the boy’s body had been pulled to the overlook.

Eckert said the boy fell onto a shelf with a number of trees, which kept him from falling some 300 feet to the canyon floor.

The Independence Monument viewpoint is one of the most popular spots in the monument, overlooking the 450-foot monolith that dominates the scenery at the junction of two canyons. It’s often a place where groups of people take pictures, though Eckert said she did not believe the boy’s group was taking photographs when he fell.

The coroner was on scene hours after the fall, but the boy’s identity was not released as of Tuesday night.


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How sad for him, for his family, and for his friends.

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