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Boy, 11, Survives 200-Foot Sliding Fall In Utah

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File photo of a hallway in a hospital. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

File photo of a hallway in a hospital. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

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PROVO, Utah (AP) — Officials say an 11-year-old boy who tumbled down a 200-foot rock slope in northern Utah is recovering and will be released from a hospital Monday.

The Utah County Sheriff’s Office identified the boy as Cesar Varvagan of Orem.

Sgt. Spencer Cannon says the boy was hiking to Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon with his family on Sunday when he tumbled down a rocky, steep slope and came to rest above a trail along the Provo River.

Officials say he hurt his head, back and hip, and might have broken a collar bone. He was airlifted to a hospital in critical condition.

The sheriff’s office said in a statement Monday that the boy’s condition has improved and he’s expected to be released from the hospital Monday.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

An 11-year-old boy has survived after tumbling down a 200-foot rocky slope while hiking with family near a scenic waterfall in northern Utah.

The boy hurt his back, hip and head and possibly broke his collar bone, the Utah County Sherriff’s Office said.

None of the boy’s injuries appeared to be life threatening, and he was awake and talking to rescuers before he was airlifted to a hospital on Sunday in critical condition.

Sgt. Spencer Cannon said the boy seemed to be doing well on Monday morning but his office had no updates on his condition. Cannon said that was a good sign because his office doesn’t usually get updates unless someone’s condition worsens.

Bonnie Midget, a spokeswoman for Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City, where the boy was flown, said she couldn’t release information about the boy’s condition on Monday for privacy reasons.

Cannon said the fall occurred while the boy was hiking around 4 p.m. Sunday on a steep trail next to Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon.

He took a few jumping steps before tumbling down a steep slope with loose rocks and stones. He landed on a trail along the Provo River, Cannon said.

“Once he took those first couple steps, it’s not a sure footing at all. He tumbled and rolled most of the 200 feet,” Cannon said. “It was a fall, but it was more of a rolling fall than it was straight down a cliff.”

Close to the waterfall, the trail can get slippery from the spray, but Cannon said he believes the boy was outside that slippery area.

Officials have not released the boy’s identity but said the family is from the nearby Orem area. The boy’s parents declined through law enforcement to be interviewed.

Bridal Veil Falls, a 607-foot waterfall dropping into the Provo River, is popular with hikers and bikers, according to Utah County’s tourism website. The waterfall freezes in the winter, making it a favorite spot for ice climbers.

With thousands of visitors every year and higher foot traffic in the summer, falls and injuries do occur in the canyon, Cannon said.

“With the number of visitors we have there, we’ll have a half-dozen or so times where we get calls for things similar to this,” Cannon said. “They’re not usually this serious.”

Officials reported two deaths from falls in the area this year.

One man died in May after falling more than 150 feet in the canyon, but officials later determined that he had intentionally jumped in an apparent suicide. In January, a woman fell about 30 feet while ice climbing the falls and died from her injuries a week later.

In 2007, a 22-year-old Brigham Young University student from Idaho died in the canyon after falling 200 feet.

The steep terrain can cause people to run into trouble if they make a misstep or stumble, Cannon said, but “it’s not unusually dangerous as long as people are careful.”

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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