Utah woman dies from fall at Grand Canyon

Utah woman dies from fall at Grand Canyon 2
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Utah woman, 34, dies in the Grand Canyon after falling 20 feet while on a hike

  • Salt Lake City resident Margaret Osswald, 34, died at 8:30 pm Monday after falling 20 feet during a hike in the canyon, just off the Colorado River
  • Officials say Osswald fell near Ledges Camp – a site made up of stair-stepping slabs of rock situated at river mile 152
  • Officials arrived at the site Monday evening by helicopter, after receiving a report of an unresponsive river trip participant near the campground 
  • Oswald, who in the past ten years has held posts at the Utah AG Office and the US Department of Justice, was on the sixth day of a ‘multi-day’ private boat tour
  • The park service and the Coconino County Medical Examiner are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding her death 
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A longtime Utah government official died Monday evening, officials said Tuesday, after falling at the Grand Canyon while on a boating trip along the Colorado River. 

Salt Lake City resident Margaret Osswald, the assistant director the Utah Division of Water Quality, was pronounced dead by Arizona safety officials at about 8:30 pm Monday after falling more than 20 feet during a hike just off the 1,450-mile-long river.

Oswald, 34, who in the past ten years has held posts at the Utah Attorney General Office, the Utah Department of Natural Resources, and the US Department of Justice, was on a the sixth day of a ‘multi-day’ private river tour when she passed.

Officials arrived at the scene near Ledges Camp – a site made up of stair-stepping slabs of rock at river mile 152 – by helicopter, after receiving a report of an unresponsive river trip participant near the campground.

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Salt Lake City resident Margaret Osswald, the assistant director the Utah Division of Water Quality, was pronounced dead by Arizona safety officials at about 8:30 pm Monday after falling more than 20 feet during a hike in the Grand Canyon, just off the Colorado River

Salt Lake City resident Margaret Osswald, the assistant director the Utah Division of Water Quality, was pronounced dead by Arizona safety officials at about 8:30 pm Monday after falling more than 20 feet during a hike in the Grand Canyon, just off the Colorado River

Officials say Osswald fell near Ledges Camp (pictured) - a site made up of stair-stepping slabs of rock at river mile 152. Officials arrived at the site Monday evening by helicopter, after receiving a report of an unresponsive river trip participant near the campground

Officials say Osswald fell near Ledges Camp (pictured) – a site made up of stair-stepping slabs of rock at river mile 152. Officials arrived at the site Monday evening by helicopter, after receiving a report of an unresponsive river trip participant near the campground

Authorities said Osswald had hiked into the canyon to meet members of the river trip at Phantom Ranch – a popular lodge more than 60 miles downriver at the bottom of the canyon – last Wednesday.

The National Park Service identified the victim as Oswald Tuesday – a revelation that was then confirmed by Utah Division of Water Quality officials.

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‘We are deeply saddened by this loss,’ a spokesperson for the division said in a statement on Tuesday, ‘and our thoughts and support go out to her loved ones at this difficult time.’ 

The water quality division also confirmed that Osswald, who went by Meg, was recently appointed as an assistant director – a promotion that is noted in her LinkedIn profile.

National park officials said that campers tried CPR on an unresponsive Osswald before crew members arrived, but were unsuccessful in their efforts to resuscitate her.

Utah woman dies from fall at Grand Canyon 3

Oswald embarked on the boat trip last Wednesday from popular lodge Phantom Ranch, located near the bottom of the canyon, before falling to her death during a hike more than 60 miles upriver on Monday

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Pictured is the Phantom Ranch, where Osswald began the 'multi-day' boat tour

Pictured is the Phantom Ranch, where Osswald began the ‘multi-day’ boat tour

An investigation into the incident is currently being conducted by the state National Park Service and the Coconino County Medical Examiner’s Office. Both parties have declined to release any additional information regarding the incident.         

According to the Utah State Bar, Osswald was a University of Utah law graduate and passed the bar in 2016.

She served in the the Utah Attorney General’s Office environment and natural resources divisions for seven years before being promoted to her current position in the state’s water quality service.

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Prior to that, Osswald worked as a Forestry Technician Utah Department of Natural Resources, and a law clerk for the US Department of Justice.

The incident comes just 11 days after another woman, Mary Kelley, 68, also on a private boating trip in the canyon, died after falling of her raft and into the raging river. 

Four people overall have died so far this year in the sprawling national park, a Grand Canyon spokesperson said Tuesday. 

The park service and the Coconino County Medical Examiner continue to investigate Osswald’s death.

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Oswald, who in the past ten years has held posts at the Utah Attorney General Office, the Utah Department of Natural Resources, and the US Department of Justice, was on the sixth day of the boat trip when she passed. Pictured is a similar Colorado River tour

Oswald, who in the past ten years has held posts at the Utah Attorney General Office, the Utah Department of Natural Resources, and the US Department of Justice, was on the sixth day of the boat trip when she passed. Pictured is a similar Colorado River tour

The park service and the Coconino County Medical Examiner are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding Osswald’s death

The park service and the Coconino County Medical Examiner are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding Osswald’s death

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