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A 24-year-old New York man was killed after slipping and falling off an 80-foot cliff while hiking in Utah last week, authorities said.

Matthew J. Schnitzer and a friend had been camping in Cottonwood Canyon for about a week when the pair went hiking on Thursday, the Emery County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Monday.

Schnitzer decided to continue hiking alone after the friend turned back to camp, according to the statement. When the 24-year-old failed to return, the friend searched until midnight but found no sign of Schnitzer.

A helicopter crew spotted Schnitzer’s body at the bottom of an 80-foot cliff, the sheriff’s office said.
(Emery County Sheriff’s Office)

The friend began looking again at 7 a.m. but still could not find Schnitzer. He then alerted local authorities to his missing friend.

Schnitzer appeared to have lost his footing and "slid off the edge" of an 80-foot cliff.
(Emery County Sheriff’s Office)

Search and rescue teams looked for Schnitzer on foot and by helicopter, the sheriff’s office said. The helicopter crew eventually spotted Schnitzer’s body in a side canyon at the bottom of an 80-foot cliff.

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The sheriff’s office said the 24-year-old appeared to have “lost his footing on the slope above the cliff and slid off the edge.”

Schnitzer’s family was notified after crews transported the body from the canyon.

“ECSO extends condolences to Matthew Schnitzer’s family and friends at this difficult time,” the sheriff’s office said.

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