TOOELE, UT (KSTU/CNN) - A woman is dead after a rock fell on top of her in a popular hiking area in Utah.
What was thought to be a rescue operation near a hiking trail at Stansbury Island quickly turned into a recovery mission Saturday.
"This is a normal area for people to come up hiking so this is just an unfortunate accident," said Lt. Travis Scharmann, of the Tooele County Sheriff's Office.
Authorities said a 37-year-old Salt Lake woman was hiking with her husband and a friend when the incident occurred.
“They were on their way back down on the trailhead to the Stansbury Mountain here,” Scharmann said. “She stepped on the rock (and) this rock started moving. Her foot got caught, she fell over in front of the rock, and the rock slid over on top of her.”
The sheriff`s office believes the woman died on impact, her body trapped underneath the massive rock.
“Four foot by four foot by two foot thick,” Scharmann said. “It’s way too heavy. They had three or four people try to move it off of her at one time and they couldn’t budge it."
The recovery extending after dark as snow continued to fall and crews faced further challenges from the terrain.
"At the point where we have to stop driving it's another quarter of a mile and it's very steep terrain, so it`s a lot of hands and feet hiking," Scharmann said.
Officials said the area is known to have unstable soil and they believe that the rainy and snowy conditions may have led to the accident.