Wyoming man found dead after cliff diving accident in Arizona

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 14, 2015 7:53 PM

By David Schwartz

PHOENIX (Reuters) - The body of a 29-year-old Wyoming man was recovered on Wednesday from a northern Arizona lake after he plunged about 90 feet (27 meters) to his death while cliff diving, authorities said.

William "Billy" Burke of Jackson Hole was found by search and rescue crews using an underwater remote-operated vehicle at a depth of 153 feet (47 meters) in Lake Powell on the Arizona-Utah border.

Burke was reported to have jumped off a cliff and into the lake last week during an outing with friends, but he never resurfaced, said Christiana Admiral, a National Park Service spokeswoman.

Friends said he was attempting to perform a gainer, a dive in which the individual takes off facing forward then performs a backward flip.

Two of his friends immediately dove into the water when he did not reappear but they could not locate him, Admiral said, adding that they then hailed a jet ski and went to a houseboat to call for assistance.

Authorities searched for six days before finding the body.

A cause of death has yet to be determined but investigators do not believe foul play was involved, she said.

There have been six cliff-diving deaths in the area since 2000.

(Reporting by David Schwartz; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Sandra Maler)