Adrian Vanderklis was hiking with his fiancée’s 9-year-old son when he plummeted to his death in Utah on Saturday. The tragic incident occurred near a natural waterfall at Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon.
Vanderklis, 40, was identified by authorities over the weekend by the Utah County Sheriff’s Office after he fell during a hiking trip with his fiancée’s son, who has not been named by police. The sheriff’s office said in a statement that “on July 17, shortly after 7:00 p.m. Deputies with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office (UCSO) were dispatched to a report of a man and a nine-year-old boy missing near Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon.”
Authorities responded to a report by Adrian Vanderklis’ fiancée, who called them in tears, claiming that she could no longer see her fiancé and hadn’t been able to for several hours. “The man, Adrian Vanderklis, 40, of Roosevelt, was climbing with his fiancée’s 9-year-old son above Bridal Veil Falls,” according to the sheriff’s statement.
UCSO Search and Rescue volunteers quickly arrived on the scene, with helicopter crew with the Utah Department of Public Safety arriving soon after. Adrian Vanderklis was found by team members around 7:45 p.m. on “a very steep, near-vertical, slope about 1/3 of a mile west of Bridal Veil Falls at an elevation of about 5,800 feet,” said the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.
According to reports, the UCSO Search and Rescue team got close to the victim but determined he had succumbed to his injuries, though the exact cause of death has not been revealed. Volunteers were called off late Saturday night as “darkness set in,” according to the statement, which meant recovering Adrian Vanderklis’ body would be “extremely dangerous.”
The operation resumed on Sunday, July 18, around 7:00 a.m., and volunteers were transported back to the site the body was last found. Attached to a helicopter, volunteers hoisted Vanderklis’ body off the cliff and transported him off the mountain. The body was then taken to the Medical Examiner’s office for an autopsy.
The sheriff’s office said in a statement that “while it is unclear exactly why Mr. Vanderklis fell, it is possible he stumbled or slipped on loose material. Regardless, it appeared he was killed immediately as a result of the fall.” The statement also confirmed that the boy was with Adrian Vanderklis at the time of his death, but said he did not witness the fall or subsequent death.
Bridal Veil Falls, which is less than a mile from where Adrian Vanderklis tragically fell, is a “607-foot-tall double cataract waterfall in the south end of Provo Canyon,” according to Tripadvisor. The Utah waterfall remains on the same side of the mountain as Battle Creek Falls.
The scenic environment is easily accessible to hikers via a trail system that is connected to a parking lot, according to the Utah Valley website. Trails are open throughout the year and often hosts picnic tables with barbeque grills and many parties or picnics in the Spring and Summer months.
Hiking can be a very dangerous pastime. Almost two weeks ago, Philip Kreycik went missing in Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park during a routine run. The avid runner had no known health conditions and has not been found since he was last seen on July 10. Authorities have started to pull back the search but are still looking for answers.
Last weekend, famous Instagram model, Sophia Cheung died while taking a selfie over a waterfall. The Hong Kong-based social media influencer was known for going on wild adventures, but her last attempt at taking photos ended in tragedy. Cheung plunged to her death during a hike through Ha Pak Lai park. Her body was recovered and she was pronounced dead on the scene.