Utah teenager, 19, dies after falling 1,400ft into popular canyon as he tried to take a photograph – as his family pays tribute
A 19-year-old Utah teenager has died tragically after falling 1,400 feet to his death at a popular canyon while trying to take a photo as his devastated family paid tribute.
Jonathan Fielding was hiking with a group of friends near Moonscape Overlook near Torrey, Utah just outside of Hanskville on Saturday when he lost his footing and plummeted to his death.
The area often referred to as ‘Mars’ is covered in gray mesas, steep cliffs that drop hundreds of feet to a view of a lunar-like landscape.
The teenager, who is from Blue Springs, Missouri, recently moved to Orem, Utah, his family said. Described by his loved ones as a ‘photography enthusiast’, Fielding stopped to take pictures to capture the majestic views moments before the tragedy.
Wayne County officials ruled his death accidental.
His grieving family described him as a ‘loving and caring son, brother, grandson, uncle, nephew and cousin.
“While Jonathan’s passing was unexpected, we take some comfort in knowing that he was doing what he loved at the time of the accident,” they wrote. “He was on a photo shoot with friends in the beautiful Utah wilderness where he loved to be.”
Pictured: Jonathan Fielding, 19, was hiking with a group of friends in Utah on Saturday when he accidentally fell to his death when he stopped to take a photo near
Pictured: Moonscape Overlook near Torrey, Utah, just outside Hanskville and the place where Fielding lost his life
Moonscape Overlook (pictured on the map) is located in a small town called Hanksville in Southern Utah. The area is about a four-hour drive from Salt Lake City
Fielding was described in his obituary as a ‘fun, intelligent young man’ and was called ‘Johnny’ by his friends.
‘He had big dreams and focused hopes on sales. More important than his dreams and future plans, however, Jonathan was a good person.
‘Jonathan truly cared about others. He will genuinely listen to you. He was truly a friend in every sense of the word.
‘He had many friends and was a good influence. He was always kind to others. He often noticed those who needed help and offered them assistance and encouragement.’
A boy scout who worked his way up to Eagle Scout, he was also an accomplished athlete who was a member of his high school’s track and field team and pole vaulter, who went to State in DECA.
‘While Jonathan’s time in life was limited, his impact on others was not. He was loved by many. He will be missed by all who knew him.
Fielding was one of six siblings and the only boy, according to his obituary.
His sister, Rebecca Fielding, drove from Missouri to the place where her brother died, she said, to get some “closure.”
She posted several photos of her brother on Facebook accompanying a heartbreaking post. She also warned others of the dangers lurking beyond the mesmerizing scenery, reminding those to ‘never trust the land on the edge of a cliff.’
‘It was a tragic accident, but Jonathan should be a cautionary tale for anyone who walks or does photography,’ she wrote, among other things.
‘No view is worth your life. No view is worth the suffering your family and friends will go through. No view is worth the risk rescuers face trying to save people and recover bodies.
‘There was no reason for my brother to die. Please don’t make the same mistakes he did.’
Jonathan Fielding pictured sitting on the edge of a cliff looking at the sunrise. His sister Rebecca Fielding posts this photo with a loving tribute
Fielding pictured with his beloved camera and next to a horse in this lovely photo
Tributes poured in on hearing the heartbreaking news of Fielding’s untimely death, as many expressed their condolences.
‘One of the kindest, most genuine, cheerful, honest and pure souls this world has had the privilege of knowing. He left every room he entered a better place. Love you Jonny,’ someone wrote.
Another mourner said: ‘So heartbroken to hear this news! Michael and Tammy we pray for your comfort and peace dear cousins! We love you all.’
Earlier in the week a GoFundMe was created to help cover the funeral costs.
Connor Parry, a friend of the family who organized the fundraiser, wrote: ‘Jonathan was loved by many and was a great example of selfless love.’
As of Thursday morning, more than $26,000 had been raised, surpassing their goal of $26,000.