November 23, 2004
Maureen Oltrogge (928) 638-7779
Fatality in Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon, AZ - At approximately 10:00 a.m. Grand Canyon National Park Dispatch received a call from Air Traffic Control located in Los Angeles, California, of a possible fatality at River Mile 78 on the Colorado River. Information had been received at the Center through a ground to air transmission.
Park rangers responded by helicopter to River Mile 78 but could not land anywhere near the reporting party because of the terrain. Rangers were able to encourage the group to proceed down river to Phantom Ranch (River Mile 88) where Search and Rescue crews were waiting.
Initial investigations indicate the group of 10 were on a noncommercial river trip that launched from Lees Ferry on Thursday, November 18th. Yesterday at approximately 3:00 p.m. one of four boats the group was traveling in, overturned at River Mile 77. Two of the boats three passengers swam to shore; the third was recovered near River Mile 78 by others in the group who then administered CPR. The victim, a 62 year old male from Phoenix, Arizona, could not be resuscitated.
Following the accident the group attempted to make contact with over flying aircraft using a ground to air radio. Early this morning an aircraft received their distress call and relayed that information to the Air Traffic Center who in turn contacted Park Dispatch.
The body will be flown by a National Park Service helicopter from Phantom Ranch to the South Rim tomorrow morning, and then transported to the Coconino County Medical Examiner's Office in Flagstaff, Arizona.
An investigation is being conducted by the National Park Service.