New Jersey man found dead in East Vail, friend thought he got out night before |

New Jersey man found dead in East Vail, friend thought he got out night before

VAIL — A New Jersey man was found dead the morning of Tuesday, Feb. 6 after an out-of-bounds excursion in East Vail, the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office said.

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

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

The incident started at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 5, when man 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.

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However, the man failed to report that 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, Feb. 6, the man called the Sheriff’s Office to report that Failla, who had accompanied him Monday, had failed to arrive back and may also be lost in the backcountry.

The Vail Mountain Rescue Group and the Vail Ski Patrol responded to the same area Tuesday to see if they could locate Failla.

Shortly after the search was launched Tuesday, Failla was located.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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