A California teacher died in a hiking accident on a steep and difficult mountain trail near Sedona, Arizona, this week, authorities said.

The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office identified the woman as Zaynab Joseph, 40, of California, who it said was staying with her family at an Airbnb in Sedona.

Joseph was hiking with her husband and 1-year-old child on Bear Mountain, about 9 miles west of Sedona, when she fell on Monday morning, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

She fell down a 140-foot cliff, the office said. A hiker who happened to be nearby descended the cliff to render aid and found her seriously injured but breathing, it said.

Zaynab Joseph.Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office via Facebook

Sedona Fire District rescuers, sheriff’s office search and rescue crews, and an Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter unit rushed to the trail but the woman died on scene, the office said.

“The husband and child were flown off the mountain, and the victim was recovered,” the sheriff’s office said.

The incident was under investigation, it said. Witnesses were being sought.

The area is in Coconino National Forest, about 116 miles north of Phoenix. The U.S. Forest Service describes a trail to the top of Bear Mountain as challenging and too steep for horses.

“The strenuous hike to the top of the mountain is mostly unshaded, steep, and difficult in places,” it said in a primer. “The trail ascends over 1,800 feet in elevation over the 2.3 mile hike to the top of Bear Mountain.”

The Islamic Society of Orange County said on its Facebook page that a memorial with prayer would be held Friday evening at its Orange Crescent School in Garden Grove for “our dearest Ms. Joseph.”

The school lists Joseph as a 10th and 11th grade science teacher.


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