BASE jumper falls to death

Eiliv Ruud dies jumping Salt Trail Canyon after a gust of wind blows him into canyon

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz - Thirty seven-year-old Eiliv Ruud of Foss Fallskjeriy, Norway died Dec. 4 while BASE (buildings, antennas, spans (bridges), and earth (cliffs)) jumping at Salt Trail Canyon, a tributary of the Little Colorado River.

Investigators believe the victim began his BASE jump from a height of approximately 1,000 feet above the canyon floor. Witnesses said it looked like Ruud traveled about 500 feet when a gust of wind blew him into the canyon wall.

Navajo Nation Department of Public Safety called Coconino County Sheriff's (CCSO) emergency dispatchers at 2:12 p.m. CCSO deputies, Coconino County Search and Rescue personnel, National Park Service (NPS) personnel and Guardian Medical Transport all responded to the accident.

The first deputy to arrive contacted a man and woman who traveled from Norway with Ruud to BASE jump at Salt Trail Canyon. The two said they were standing with Ruud at the edge of the canyon and all three planned to jump. When Ruud hit the wall, his companions said it looked like one of his parachutes deployed but failed to work properly causing Rudd to spiral out of control. They said they heard the sound of what they believed to be Ruud striking the canyon floor.

A Guardian Medical Transport Helicopter flew into the canyon and landed about 500 feet below Ruud. Crewmembers hiked to the victim's location and confirmed that he was dead. Rescuers did not attempt to recover the body as nightfall approached.

On Dec. 5 an NPS air rescue helicopter flew into the canyon and recovered the victim's body, which was flown to the parking lot of the Desert View Visitor Center. The victim's body was transported by ground to the Coconino County Medical Examiner's Office where an investigation into the accident continues.

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