Cody L. Johnson fell to his death in July after his new wife pushed him off the edge of a cliff in Glacier National Park in Montana. Though his death is unfortunate, and the circumstances surrounding the incident are still under investigation, it is not the first tragedy to occur in the park this year. So far, five people have died in the park in 2013. Three deaths have been the result of falls, one (Johnson's) directly involved the actions of another person, and one was the result of drowning.
Glacier Park spokeswoman Denise Germann told HLN on Wednesday that while accidents are bound to happen no matter what, visitors to the park need to be prepared for their excursions. "In the park, the backcountry is wilderness, and there are some challenges in the wilderness."
Below are the five deaths recorded in Glacier National Park this year:
March 14, 2013: The body of 28-year-old Amy Marie Reddig is found near Lake McDonald. A search was conducted after someone filed a missing person report, and park rangers found her car in a nearby parking lot. According to the Flathead County Coroner's office, Reddig accidentally drowned, and hypothermia was a contributing factor in her death.
June 26, 2013: 64-year-old Charles Fred Huseman dies after falling about 100 feet in the Rim Rock area. Park investigations and witness accounts suggest Huseman was hiking in an area of the park that was temporarily closed due to dangerous conditions.
July 9, 2013: The body of 21-year-old Cesar Flores Jr. is recovered on Akipuni Mountain. Flores was climbing with three other people in a steep and rocky area of the mountain when he fell. Flores and the rest of his climbing party were employees of Glacier Inc., and worked at the Many Glacier Hotel.
July 12, 2013: The body of Cody Lee Johnson is found in an area near the Going-to-Sun road. His widow Jordan Linn Graham admitted to police that she pushed Johnson while the couple were having a fight. Graham is facing a charge of second-degree murder for his death.
July 25, 2013: The body of 21-year-old Matthew Needham is recovered from below Grinell Point. According to park reports, Needham was with two other climbers when he fell 60 feet to his death. Another group of climbers happened upon his body and found him unresponsive. Needham and the other members of his climbing party were employees of Glacier, Inc. and worked at the Many Glacier Hotel.
Germann said that in 2011, the park also recorded five deaths, with causes ranging from motor vehicle accidents to health issues while hiking. However, the spokeswoman said drowning is the No. 1 cause of death in the park to date.
"The best thing is to be prepared," she said. "That includes having the right equipment, the right clothing, the right skills, and the knowledge. You may embark on some activity, and you have to think, 'Are my skills adequate?' You have to be honest with what your skill levels are."