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Flagstaff, AZ; Thirty seven-year old Eiliv Ruud of Foss Fallskjeriy, Norway died yesterday while base jumping at the Salt Trail Canyon which is a tributary of the Little Colorado River. Investigators believe the victim began his base jump from a height of approximately 1000’ to the canyon floor. According to witnesses it appeared the victim had traveled approximately 500’ or about half the total distance when he was blown into the canyon wall by a gust of wind.
On Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 2:12 pm Coconino County Sheriff’s emergency dispatchers received a call from the Navajo Nation Department of Public Safety advising of this accident. Coconino County Sheriff’s Deputies, Coconino County Search and Rescue Personnel, National Park Service Personnel and Guardian Medical Transport were sent to the area.
The first deputy to arrive contacted two Norway Citizens, an adult male and an adult female. According to these individuals they traveled from Norway with the victim for the expressed purpose of base jumping at the above described location. The two companions of the victim said they were standing with him at the edge of the canyon and all three planned to jump. The victim was the first to jump from a height estimated to be approximately 1000’ to the canyon floor. It appeared to the witnesses that the victim fell approximately 500’ at which point a gust of wind appeared to blow him into the canyon wall. At this point the witnesses saw one of the victim’s parachutes deploy however it failed to function properly and it appeared he was spiraling out of control. The witnesses heard the sound of what they believed to be the victim striking the canyon floor.
A Guardian Medical Transport Helicopter flew into the canyon and landed about 500’ below where the victim came to rest. Crew members hiked to the victim’s location and confirmed that he was deceased. Due to the impending nightfall a body recovery was not attempted at that time.
On Wednesday a National Park Service Air Rescue Helicopter flew into the canyon and recovered the victim’s body, which was flown to the parking lot of the Desert View Visitor Center. The victim’s body was transported by ground to the Coconino County Medical Examiner’s Office where this investigation will be continued.