Authorities say a 74-year-old man has died after spending the night hanging upside down by his foot when he got stuck rappelling in Utah’s Zion National Park.
According to Fox News, Yoshio Hosobuchi was rappelling Tuesday night in the Subway, a popular and demanding slot canyon 250 miles south of Salt Lake City, when his rappel device jammed and he became stuck upside-down in a waterfall.
Yoshio’s wife, who had reached the canyon bottom first, was not able to climb back up to help him. Reports say Mrs. Hosobouchi attempted to locate help for her husband, but apparently became disoriented about halfway through the nine-mile route in the remote, rugged area.
Mr. Hosobuchi, a retired neurosurgeon from California, had died by the time park rangers arrived Wednesday morning.
“He was unable to pull himself up to reach his foot. … This was an extremely tragic, awful way for him to die,” Zion spokeswoman Aly Baltrus said Thursday, adding that the exact cause of death awaited an autopsy by the Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office.
Baltrus told KSL.com that while neither Hosobuchi nor his wife were experienced canyoneers, they were not complete novices either.
“They actually had taken a course, just an introductory course on canyoneering which we recommend to everybody. They had also gone through Keyhole Canyon first which is a much easier descent,” he said.
KSL reports that Hosobuchi’s death was the first death of a hiker in the Subway in at least 10 years — park officials were unable to immediately determine when the last death occurred there, although they are frequently called to rescue distressed hikers.