Washington County sheriff's deputies are investigating the death of a 29-year-old Las Vegas woman who fell more than 1,000 feet from the top of Angel's Landing in Zion National Park.

Deputies said Bernadette Vandermeer was hiking with her husband early Tuesday morning when she fell. Her husband called 911 to report it about 6:30 a.m.

Zion National Park spokesman Ron Terry said the woman fell from the overlook area on top.

"From Angel's Landing to the slope below is approximately 1,200 feet," he said. National Park Service rangers had to hike to retrieve the woman's body.

Washington County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Rob Tersigni told the Deseret Morning News they are treating the death as an accident.

"The investigation is not complete yet," he said Tuesday. "We're leaning towards an accidental fall but we're still following up on it."

Angel's Landing is a popular hiking spot with a breathtaking view of Zion National Park.

It can also be deadly.

According to Deseret Morning News archives, in 2004, 14-year-old Kristoffer Jones of Long Beach, Calif., fell 1,000 feet to his death while on a Boy Scout outing. In 1997, John Christensen, 36, of Provo, fell while rappelling down Angel's Landing. In 1989, Jeffery Robert Dwyer, 28, of Sandpoint, Idaho, died in a 150 foot fall.

Also in 1997, Patricia Bottarini, 36, of Medford, N.J., fell about 500 feet while hiking to the park's Observation Point with her husband. James Bottarini went on trial in 2002 in federal court on charges connected to her death. He was acquitted of the charges.


E-mail: bwinslow@desnews.com