A Florida woman died after falling off a cliff at the Grand Canyon National Park on Friday. The Associated Press reports that Colleen Burns, 35, was found by park rangers about 400 feet from where she accidentally stepped off a cliff at Ooh Aah Point. The location was about a mile down from South Kaibab Trail, a popular tourist destination.
Park officials say Burns was hiking with family and taking photographs of the sunrise on the trail, as seen in her Instagram post below. She died on Monday.
According to the report, the National Park Service and the Coconino County Medical Examiner are investigating the woman’s tragic fall.
WESH 2 had more on the woman’s death after her fall at the Grand Canyon. A friend who joined her on the hike, Jessica Roman, said Burns was moving out of the way for someone when she accidentally stepped off the cliff’s edge.
“She was stepping out of the way for another gentleman to kind of squeeze in, and unfortunately, Colleen kind of got tripped up on her own feet and fell backwards, fell into the canyon,” Roman said. “That was the longest, strangest, craziest two seconds of my life.”
Burns and Roman were in the middle of switching places with another group of people for photos when the fall occurred.
Burns was from Orlando and was the marketing director for southeastern cities at Yelp.
Jessica Roman, who was vacationing with Burns and another friend, says they had just taken a photo at Ooh Aah Point on the South Kaibab Trail and were switching out with another group when Burns fell.
Roman and Burns’ other friends remembered what kind of person she was at the World of Beer by Lake Eola on Monday. She was known for her special way of bringing people together.
Joshua Johnson was introduced to his wife by Burns and has fond memories of Colleen Burns.
“She was a force, and it wasn’t her trying to be that, that’s just who she was,” Johnson said.
Fortunately for Roman, those last few seconds of her close friend’s life pales in comparison to the memories that she recalls of all their years as pals.
“Those last two seconds where everything changed are so minute in comparison to all the memories I have with her,” Roman said.
The tragic loss of her friend will be felt for years, but she holds onto the recollections of everything Burns brought into her life.
Yelp issued a statement in the wake of Roman’s death.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of Colleen Burns, a cherished Yelp colleague and friend. Colleen launched the Yelp community in Orlando nearly seven years ago. Her passing represents a tremendous loss to our company, the communities she supported and the many friends she made while doing what she loved. We are heartbroken but thankful to have been positively shaped by her passion and joy for life.”
— ABC15 Arizona (@abc15) July 11, 2016
The report notes that Burns also had a passion for American DJ Kaskade and created a fan group called Kaskade Konnect.
Kaskade honored Burns on his website, heaping praise on her “unmatched enthusiasm for life,” “the fire in her eyes and that crazy infectious smile,” and calling on everyone to “remember the legacy she created — based on love and joy.”
It was just a few weeks ago that a man from Irvine, California, fell to his death from a Grand Canyon cliff. The National Parks Traveler reports that 23-year-old Jamison Whittaker fell several hundred feet to his death from the Mather Point on the south rim of the park.
[Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]