At approximately 2 p.m. on July 22, 2013, Kane County Dispatch received notification of a 27-year-old female suffering from heat-related stress about one half of a mile from the Wire Pass Trailhead while returning from a hike to The Wave. The female, Elisabeth Ann Bervel from Mesa, Arizona, was hiking with her husband Anthony Bervel. It was a special day for the Bervels because it was their fifth wedding anniversary. They were looking forward to the hike using the tickets they had acquired from the online lottery drawing seven months ago. They had spent the last seven months preparing for the trip by reviewing the information provided by a BLM informational packet about the hike, as well as online reviews by other hikers trying to make sure they were prepared for the outing.

The couple began their hike about 8 a.m. (Utah time). They occasionally met with other hikers making the same trip. After spending some time at The Wave, they began their return trip to the trailhead. They lost the trail a couple of times on the way back, which would have been during the hot part of the day by then, and spent a couple of extra hours trying to find the correct path back to their vehicle. The couple of extra hours in the heat and hiking in the sand took their toll on Elisabeth and her legs finally gave out and she could go no farther. Anthony hiked for a ways to find a cell phone signal and made a call for help.

Because of the serious condition of Mrs. Bervel, a medical helicopter was dispatched from Page, Arizona, to fly directly to the scene. A Kane County Sheriff’s deputy and an ambulance from Big Water, Utah, were also dispatched to respond by ground. When the helicopter arrived, Elisabeth was already in cardiac arrest. They tried performing CPR, but were unable to revive her.

Elisabeth’s body was transported by the helicopter to the Kanab Utah Airport where she was transferred to the care of Mosdell Mortuary under the direction of Sheriff Smith, the Medical Investigator for Kane County. The body will be transported to the Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office in Salt Lake City. The cause of death is still under investigation.

The Bervels have two sons, ages four and five, who were with family in Arizona.

This event once again demonstrates the inherent risks associated with hiking in southern Utah’s desert country this time of year. Even though the Bervels had tried to make sure they were prepared for this hike, the elements proved to be stronger. This makes four hiking-related deaths this summer in Kane County. Three of those deaths have been in close proximity on the trail to The Wave, and the fourth occurring at another popular hiking spot off of the Hole in the Rock Road, south of Escalante, Utah. The ages of the deceased have ranged from 27 to 70 years of age.