Moore, a well-known and seasoned BASE jumper, was jumping with friends when the accident occurred at about 4 p.m.
Witnesses told police that Moore jumped and appeared to be in an “unusually head high position,” and was waving his arms to gain stability, according to the news release. He did regain stability and reached back to grab the parachute release cord, but missed it. Moore was able to grab the cord on his second attempt and the parachute deployed, but it was too late and he hit the ground, according to the news release.
The area where the accident occurred is located within the Moab city limits. Moab police officers and Grand County Search and Rescue workers responded to the scene. Search and rescue workers, a detective from the police department and several of Moore’s friends then began a 4.5-hour effort to recover his body.
The recovery effort was hampered by wet, icy conditions due a snowstorm on Friday, Nov. 22 and light rain that was falling on Saturday afternoon, said Grand County Search and Rescue Commander Jim Webster.
“[Moore’s body] was hundreds of feet up icy cliffs and scree slopes,” Webster said. “It was a high-risk operation that was done safely because our guys are careful ... It was a very dangerous situation.”
By the time the recovery team reached Moore’s body darkness had set in, Webster said. Search and rescue workers set up lights to illuminate the cliffs but it was still difficult for the recovery team to negotiate the slope so GCSAR Vice Commander Bego Gerhart, who had a better vantage point from below, directed the team as they carried the litter containing Moore’s body down loose talus and vertical drops.
The accident marked Grand County Search and Rescue’s 89th incident in 2013 and the third involving a BASE jumper, Webster said.
Moore’s friends posted tributes and shared their grief on social media sites throughout the weekend. One friend, Scott Ibex, said Moore’s death was “really heartbreaking.” Ibex told The Times-Independent that Moore was “an incredible person” who will be missed by many.
“He just smiled at everyone he saw and he helped everybody he could,” Ibex said Nov. 27. “He always carried himself with grace. He gave light to people and made their day better with a smile. He’s just a wonderful person, a wonderful friend, and I’ll miss him dearly.”
Karen Moore described her son as “a gift.”
“His death is hard to swallow,” she told The Times-Independent. “Though knowing it was his passion that took him – it’s a bit easier, I think.”
She said her son had developed an interest in the “wonders of nature” at an early age and was constantly exploring the world around him.
“Daniel lived his life to the fullest extent, a man overflowing with goodness and the biggest heart in the world,” she said. “I’m very pleased with the response to his impact on anyone who crossed his path. I will forever be grateful that he was my son ... only wish I could touch his sweet face and see his smile, and hold him again.”
Moore’s remains were transported to the State Medical examiner’s office for autopsy.
Another BASE jumper was injured in a separate accident on Sunday, Nov. 24, according to a news release from the Grand County Sheriff’s Office. Thayer Healey, 33, of Newark, Ohio, was seriously injured during a BASE jump at Wall Street on state Route 313.
Healey was the third of three people who had jumped at the area that morning, sheriff’s officials said. When he made his jump at about 12:30 p.m., he experienced a problem that caused him to strike the cliff wall, the news release stated.
Healey fell and tumbled 150 to 200 feet before landing at the base of the cliff near the roadway, sheriff’s officials said. He was transported by ambulance to Moab Regional Hospital with serious injuries.