Hiker Lost Near Vail Failed to tell Searchers he was with a Friend when Rescued | Friend Later Found Dead in same Area

Steven Agar |
vail, colorado, rescued, dead
Woods near Vail. Credit: antlersvail.com

A man who got lost in the woods east of the Vail ski area Monday was rescued by searchers, but the body of his friend who had gone hiking with him was later found in the same area, reports The Denver Post.

The dead man was identified as Samuel Failla, 24, of New Jersey.

The first man called 911 about 7 pm on Monday to report that he had fallen off of a trail and had spent several hours trying to hike out to safety. The Vail Mountain Rescue Group and the Vail Ski Patrol found the man and brought him to safety.

The man, whom police are not yet naming, failed to tell rescuers that he had been accompanied by a friend. Authorities said he later told them that he assumed his friend had gotten out of the woods on his own.

At 9:30 am Tuesday, the man who had been rescued called the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office to report that Failla hadn’t shown up. When search and rescue crews returned to the same area they combed Monday, they found Failla’s body.

The Eagle County coroners’ office is working to determine the cause of death. Officials are asking that anyone with information about this incident to call the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office at 970-328-8500 or Eagle County Crime Stoppers at 970-328-7007.


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3 thoughts on “Hiker Lost Near Vail Failed to tell Searchers he was with a Friend when Rescued | Friend Later Found Dead in same Area

  1. What a tragic thing to happen. I know hypothermia and panic can shut down the brain. Rescued person may not have been thinking clearly . It sounds like since rescued person did mention ski buddy the authorities ,a follow up should have been done ? My heartfelt prayers to everyone involved in the awful tragedy.

  2. Sam was a close friend of my family. A GoFundMe page has been launched on his behalf to help assist the Failla family with the final resting costs and the creation of a foundation for under privileged kids to play the sports they love.

    https://www.gofundme.com/db6kw-bringsamhome

    “Our Chatham community has tragically lost 24-year-old Sam Failla to a skiing accident in Vail, Colorado on Tuesday, February 6, 2018. Sam graduated from Chatham High School in 2012 where he was a captain of the Chatham Cougar football team and an active member of the community.

    After high school Sam continued his education at the University of South Carolina where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2016 and was a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity.

    Sam’s passions were snowboarding, travel and children. He spent many years babysitting neighborhood children throughout his high school and college years. This past summer, he traveled to several destinations such as Singapore, Thailand and Greece, where he had the time if his life. In November, Sam returned to Vail for his second season as a snowboard instructor at Vail Resort in Colorado. He was a favorite with the kids in the ski school and was adored by his coworkers and liked by all who knew him.

    Sam is survived by his parents John and Whitney Failla, sisters, Alexandria and Ellie Failla all of Chatham NJ.

    In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the GoFundMe link to assist the Failla family with the final resting costs and the creation of a foundation for under privileged kids to play the sports they love.

    Thank you and God speed….”

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