Ogden friend remembers skydiver as leading female in sport of basejumping

Feb 10 2014 - 6:50pm

Images

Clayton Butler, 29, Salt Lake City snapped and posted this picture of him and his wife Amber Bellows to his Facebook page five hours before the couple’s last jump together in Zion National Park. Bellows, 28,  died Feb. 8, when her parachute failed to open and she fell about 2,000 feet to the ground, according to Zion National Park officials.Photo from Clayton Butler Facebook fan page
Amber Bellows, 28 of Salt Lake City, and her husband Clayton Butler, 29 also of Salt Lake City, are seen BASE jumping from the MGM Grand Signature hotel in Las Vegas in late January. Bellows died Feb. 8, when her parachute failed to open and she fell about 2,000 feet to the ground, according to Zion National Park officials. Photo from Clayton Butler Facebook fan page
Clayton Butler, 29, Salt Lake City and his wife Amber Bellows, right. Bellows, 28, died Feb. 8, when her parachute failed to open and she fell about 2,000 feet to the ground in Zion National Park officials. (Photo from www.claytonhoytbutler.com)
Clayton Butler, 29, Salt Lake City snapped and posted this picture of him and his wife Amber Bellows to his Facebook page five hours before the couple’s last jump together in Zion National Park. Bellows, 28,  died Feb. 8, when her parachute failed to open and she fell about 2,000 feet to the ground, according to Zion National Park officials.Photo from Clayton Butler Facebook fan page
Amber Bellows, 28 of Salt Lake City, and her husband Clayton Butler, 29 also of Salt Lake City, are seen BASE jumping from the MGM Grand Signature hotel in Las Vegas in late January. Bellows died Feb. 8, when her parachute failed to open and she fell about 2,000 feet to the ground, according to Zion National Park officials. Photo from Clayton Butler Facebook fan page
Clayton Butler, 29, Salt Lake City and his wife Amber Bellows, right. Bellows, 28, died Feb. 8, when her parachute failed to open and she fell about 2,000 feet to the ground in Zion National Park officials. (Photo from www.claytonhoytbutler.com)

OGDEN -- Amber Bellows was "a real tag team" with her newlywed husband Clayton Butler, said a friend of the Utah couple on Monday. The duo were both avid and experienced base jumpers preparing for a future of extreme sports together.

Josh Lloyd, a friend and promotional specialist met the couple about three months ago when they approached him about producing some BASE jumping videos. They had both been jumping for several years and had done hundreds of jumps.

"I haven't come across two athletes that were more dedicated to the sport as them," Lloyd told the Standard-Examiner. "I also haven't met any couple as in love as them."

Saturday, two weeks after the couple had wed, they were in Zion National Park attempting a jump from Mount Kinesava.

Bellows, 28 of Salt Lake City, died Feb. 8, when her parachute failed to open and she fell about 2,000 feet to the ground, park officials said.

Lloyd said he became "fast friends" with the couple and enjoyed their genuine nature. The couple relied on each other. Lloyd recalled last speaking with Bellows, who he said was the leading female in the sport, in January when the couple was talking about making plans to travel abroad and really make their career take off.

"Amber made Clayton a better person, and vice versa," he said calling the news of her death a true tragedy. "She [would just light] up a room." With plans of making it big, Lloyd said the couple worked whatever jobs they could to scrape together enough money to afford the extreme sport.

Skydiving was their passion. Bellows worked at Sky Dive Utah, according to her Facebook fan page and the couple jumped in Weber County at Skydive Ogden in January.

The fun-loving nature of the couple can be seen in a recent YouTube video of them both jumping from a high-rise in Las Vegas after their nuptials. 

They shared so much in the same interest of extreme sports that they jumped off The Signature at MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas after getting married in late January. Bellows is seen in the video jumping from their hotel room patio in a wedding gown, while Butler in an Elvis costume with all the trimmings, including the stuck-on sideburns. After the two safely land, they rush to get themselves and their gear quickly into the back seat of a car. The two then laugh and kiss with the excitement of a honeymoon couple.

Bellows will be missed by more than just friends and family, but by all those in the entire skydiving community, Lloyd said.

"We all believe that she is up in the blue skies right now looking down on us."

Saturday morning Bellows hiked to the top of the red-rock mountain with her husband, 29-year-old Clayton Butler.

Bellows jumped first, around 4 p.m., but her parachute did not open. Her husband jumped after her, but he landed too far away to reach her body. It took him another two hours to hike down the mountain and notify park officials. Butler snapped and posted a picture to his Facebook page five hours earlier of the two hiking that morning.

Officials began a helicopter search on Sunday morning and found Bellows' body by 10 a.m.

Park officials said Bellows had been an experienced BASE jumper. BASE stands for Building, Antenna, Span, Earth -- the different platforms used by jumpers.

BASE jumping is banned in Zion, and this is the first time a jumper has died.

"It is just really sad and our condolences go out to her family and friends," Acting Superintendent Jim Milestone said in a statement. "BASE jumping is so dangerous. Even for those that are experienced, like Amber Bellows. That is one of the reasons it is not allowed in the park."

In October, Ogden BASE-jumper Ammon McNeely recorded video of his snapped ankle he incurred after crashing into a cliff wall while also BASE jumping in southern Utah. A month later Daniel Moore, of Moab died after his parachute opened too late and he crashed. Moore was jumping off a popular cliff in Moab.   

Contact reporter Cimaron Neugebauer 801-625-4231 or cneugebauer@standard.net Follow him on Twitter at @CimaronNews 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

 

From Around the Web

  +