Man found dead in East Vail identified; friend thought he got out night before

Randy Wyrick
Vail Daily
Sam Failla

GoFundMe effort

Within hours of hearing about his death, friends of Sam Failla launched a GoFundMe page to help raise money to bring Failla’s body back to his Chatham, New Jersey home.

Click here to read the full story. 

A New Jersey man was found dead Tuesday morning after an out-of-bounds excursion in East Vail, the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office said.

Samuel Failla, 24, was reported missing Tuesday morning after an East Vail backcountry trip Monday. Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis said his cause of death will be determined after an autopsy.

Failla was reported missing at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday by his companion, who was rescued Monday night after calling 911. The companion failed to indicate he had been in the backcountry with Failla because the friend assumed Fallia had made it out of the area on his own, officials said Tuesday.

The incident started at 7 p.m. Monday when Failla’s friend called 911 saying he had fallen off a trail and had been trying to hike out to safety for several hours. The Vail Mountain Rescue Group and the Vail Ski Patrol quickly responded to the area, located the man and brought him to safety without incident.

However, the man failed to report he had been in the backcountry with Failla. He told the Sheriff’s Office that he assumed Failla had gotten out on his own.

At 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, the man called the Sheriff’s Office to report that Failla, who had accompanied him Monday, had failed to arrive back and also may have been lost in the backcountry.

The Vail Mountain Rescue Group and the Vail Ski Patrol responded to the same area Tuesday morning to see if they could locate Failla. He was found shortly after the search was launched.


Hanukkah has arrived in Aspen

Members of the valley’s Jewish community gathered at the Albright Pavilion at Aspen Meadows Thursday for their second annual menorah lighting ceremony to celebrate and acknowledge the first day of Hanukkah.

See more