A trip into Provo Canyon to skateboard turned tragic Saturday after a Springville man and an exchange student from China decided to instead climb around Bridal Veil Falls.
Both males died after apparently falling in separate incidents.
A helicopter with search and rescue personnel found the body of Brandon I. Reas, 28, at about 7:45 a.m. Sunday, according to Utah County Sheriff's Lt. Erik Knutzen. They had been searching for Reas after responding to a 6:45 p.m. Saturday call of a teenage boy injured at the base of the falls.
When deputies first arrived, they determined the boy, identified as Kedi Chen, 14, of China, had died after suffering significant injuries.
Reas and his family had been hosting Chen, who had arrived in Utah on Saturday as part of a short-term exchange program after living in Nara, Japan.
"He hadn't been here a full day yet," Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon said. "He was only going to be here a couple of days."
Knutzen said the pair had arrived in Provo Canyon from Springville between 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Reas’ car was parked down the road west of the falls. They had originally planned to skateboard in the area, but the plans had apparently changed.
At 4:41 p.m., Reas sent a photo to his wife from one of the ledges at the falls. That was the last known communication from either male.
Officials don't yet know the sequence of events, but it isn't believed the Chen and Reas fell at the same time based on where they were found. There were no witnesses of the incidents.
Chen's body was found toward the east side of the falls. Cannon said the injuries appeared consistent with a fall from the first level of the falls — from a height as great as a couple hundred feet.
Search personnel discovered Reas' body on the first level of the falls on the western side of the landmark. Cannon said he appeared to have died from a fall from above the first level, which could have also been a couple hundred feet.
The trail and old highway at Bridal Veil Falls were closed Sunday morning so first responders could recover Reas' body. Search personnel first lowered Reas to the base of the falls and then carried him down the hill at about 12:30 p.m.
Reas’ and Chen's bodies were separately taken to the coroner’s office.
Investigators were also on the site. The matter is under investigation, but Knutzen said the deaths appeared to be accidental.
Cannon noted that climbing above the base level approach to the falls should be taken with caution and equipment is recommended.
Knutzen said climbing equipment was found near Reas, but it wasn’t immediately known if it’s connected to Reas.
There have been a number of injuries and deaths at Bridal Veil Falls. In May, a 12-year-old boy was injured by a falling rock. According to Daily Herald records, the last death appeared to be in September 2014 when 39-year-old Camille Stepan of North Salt Lake was found dead at the base of the falls.