A 19-year-old man fell to his death while taking photographs at a popular canyon overlook in Utah.
Jonathan Fielding, who had recently moved to Orem from Blue Springs, Missouri, was hiking with friends near Moonscape Overlook just outside Hanksville on Saturday at approximately 5 p.m. when the incident occurred, according to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.
Wayne County officials said that Fielding stopped to take photos with two of his friends before falling. They ruled Fielding’s death as accidental.
Deputies emphasized that the group was not canyoneering at the time of the incident, and they believe Fielding was attempting to get a better vantage point of the canyon.
“Jonathan is loved by many and was a great example of selfless love,” read a GoFundMe set up in his honor.
Family friend Connor Parry said he was one of Fielding’s youth leaders in Missouri.
“Jonathan is one of those kids who you’d walk away from and you’re still smiling. He’s a very genuine individual who is very interested in what’s going on in your life. He is full of energy, and he would make you feel important when he’s talking to you,” Parry said.
Parry said Fielding was from Missouri, but he’d moved to Orem about a year ago and started working for Grit Marketing.
“He found an enormous group of friends and a group of support,” Parry said. “He was a special kid, and it’s important to keep that energy and that smile he brought to every conversation.”
Jonathan’s sister, Rebecca Fielding, posted on Facebook, “Jonathan thought he was invincible. He was so young, so happy, so full of life. Nothing scared him. This kind of thing was never supposed to happen to him. It doesn’t feel right being in a world without him and I’d give anything to trade places with him.”
She also shared this reminder in a Facebook group:
“It was Moon Overlook near Torrey Utah, which is just a couple hours west of Moab. I drove all the way from Missouri to go to the spot. While i was there I was able to call and talk to one off the guys who was with him and see exactly what happened to get closure.
It was a tragic accident, but Jonathan should be a cautionary tale to anyone who hikes or does photography.
Never trust the ground on the edge of a cliff. The rocks may look solid, the ground might seem like it will hold, but it’s still an eroding ticking time bomb. All it takes is one wrong step to dislodge rocks, one moment of unbalance, a trip over a rock, and you can plummet to your death.
No view is worth your life. No view is worth the suffering that your family and friends will go through. No view is worth the risk that rescuers face when trying to save people and recover bodies.