Meg O'Neill: Utah woman dies while saving fellow climber after ice column breaks and falls on her

Meg O'Neill: Utah woman dies while saving fellow climber after ice column breaks and falls on her
Meg O'Neill's body was recovered after 30 hours of search in Indian Canyon (Meg/Facebook, Duchesne County Sheriff's Office)

DUCHESNE COUNTY, UTAH: An ice climber died after saving a fellow climber while pushing her to safety when a massive ice column split and fell from a frozen Utah waterfall. The incident took place when Meg O'Neill, 41, the deceased climber attempted to scale Raven Falls which was frozen at the time. The ice chunk fell in Indian Canyon on Sunday, April 3, after the split, leading to her death. Officials of the Duchesne County Sheriff’s Office stated that O'Neill who pushed the 21-year-woman to the other side "probably saved her life."

O'Neill died after she was crushed beneath "two huge blocks of ice." The two female climbers were accompanied by a 34-year-old man who fell 40 feet and suffered severe injuries. He was later airlifted to a hospital for treatment. Following the incident, the woman who survived managed to climb down and sought help by dialing 911 after she drove to Duchesne County from the icy terrain, reported New York Post.


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'Brave, outrageous woman who lost her life while saving another'

O'Neill's body was recovered after about 30 hours of search by firefighters, paramedics, search and rescue teams, and volunteers. The 41-year-old woman was hailed by officers as a "brave, outrageous woman who lost her life while saving another." The victim's identity was not revealed by the sheriff's office. However, the victim was identified as O'Neill from Salt Lake City by her colleagues and friends who responded to the incident on social media and local news interviews.


Who was Meg O'Neill?

O'Neill who previously taught science at Utah International Charter School worked at a non-profit organization named Embark Outdoors. The organization promotes outdoor sports to inspire young refugee women. 

Talking to Fox 13 Now, O'Neill's colleague Camille Fiducia said that the 41-year-old envisioned making activities more inclusive and was known to be an avid outdoorswoman. "If all of us can be one-eighth what Meg’s attitude of service was, what a change that could be in our local community," said Fiducia.


Honoring O'Neill, a tribute to the climber was shared by Embark 

Outdoors on its Instagram page. "We have lost a dear friend, a hero, and our fearless leader. Our Meg was in a terrible accident while ice climbing in Duchesne County. In an act so true to Meg, she made sure the others on the ground were safe before she was killed by falling debris," the post read.


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 Utah woman dies saving climber after ice column falls on her