News Item: Bodies of 2 BYU students found
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Two Brigham Young University students were found dead Tuesday in a remote and rugged canyon in southern Utah. Rescuers had been searching for John Anderson, 25, and Brad Underwood, 24, for almost four days when divers found their bodies in a pool of water 10 to 15 feet deep.
Family members, who had traveled from Arizona and Provo to assist in the search, identified the bodies at about 4:30 p.m.
Anderson, from St. David, Ariz., and Underwood, from Tucson, were supposed to graduate from BYU this week.
"This is a shame to have it end this way," Garfield County Sheriff Than Cooper said.
A group of seven hikers from Montana who exited the canyon Tuesday found a rope and a backpack that may have belonged to Anderson or Underwood.
Those hikers told searchers that they felt symptoms of hypothermia and worried that their lives were in danger as they hiked out of the canyon.
One of those hikers, Perry Fishbaugh, described the hike out of the canyon as treacherous. He said there were areas where his group had to swim and rappel.
Anderson and Underwood began hiking last Wednesday, exploring a rugged and sandy canyon range on the border of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. They had planned to finish their hike by late Friday or early Saturday.
When they didn't return, family members contacted the Garfield County Sheriff's Office, which began searching for the men after finding their car near Egypt Trailhead off Hole-in-the-Rock Road.
Three helicopters and 15 ground searchers scoured the wilderness area Saturday looking for signs of the hikers, scanning a handful of canyons and deep gorges.
By late Monday, searchers were concentrating on a narrow-slot canyon known as Choprock Canyon that is 16 inches wide in some places. In other areas, the canyon is 10 feet wide and the walls are 300 feet high. Some spots are covered by water measuring 5 feet to 20 feet deep.
Anderson and Underwood, said to be experienced outdoorsmen, were found in this area.
Anderson was studying construction management, and Underwood was studying physics.
"He was one of those guys who was always happy and had a smile on his face," said Lyle Anderson, a cousin of Anderson. "We're going to miss him."
On Tuesday, no one was home at Underwood's south Provo apartment. A bouquet of flowers expressing support was left at the door for his wife, Roxanne.
David Cullen, a friend of Underwood's for the past two years, described him as a well-rounded person who excelled at everything he tried.
"I tried to stay close to him because he was the type of person who was going to bring the best out of you," said Cullen, a BYU student.
He was with Underwood's wife Saturday night when she became worried about her husband's absence.
"He was very careful, so it comes as a great surprise to me that he would find himself in a situation he couldn't get out of," he said.
Underwood was one of the brightest students in the physics department, Cullen said, and planned to pursue a career in the Air Force after graduation.
"I know when someone dies people only remember good things about them, but there are only good things to remember about Brad," he said. "He was an exceptional person."
Jay Christofferson, chairman of the construction-management program at BYU, said Anderson was well-known by students and faculty alike.
"He was very likeable, very friendly and outgoing," he said.
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