Utah woman who died in ice climbing accident saved another

Apr 6, 2023, 11:44 AM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Salt Lake City woman who died in a weekend ice climbing accident is being credited with saving the life of a fellow climber by pushing her out of the way when the ice above them fractured, officials said.

Meg O’Neill, 41, and two others were climbing the 420 foot (128 meter) tall frozen Raven Falls in northeastern Utah on Sunday when the accident happened.

Her death was confirmed by Camille Fiducia, the founder of an organization called Embark Outdoors, where O’Neill was the assistant director, KSTU-TV reports.

O’Neill’s body was recovered Monday evening underneath what the Duchesne County Sheriff’s Office described as “two huge blocks of ice.”

“Our sincere condolences to all effected by this tragedy, to the family of this brave, courageous woman who lost her life while saving another,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a Facebook post.

A 24-year-old man in the climbing party fell about 40 feet (12 meters) and was injured while the 21-year-old woman that O’Neill pushed out of the way was able to climb down and drive to a spot with cellphone reception to call for help. The man was rescued via helicopter and taken to the hospital.

Fiducia said O’Neill was a prolific climber and a committed outdoors person. She was a former science teacher at Utah International Charter School, where she founded a hiking club and leadership program, according to her biography on the Embark Outdoors website.

Fiducia said she and O’Neill shared the vision of making the outdoors a more inclusive place.

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Utah woman who died in ice climbing accident saved another