Grand Canyon National Park (AZ)
Two Separate Falling Fatalities
Rangers were notified of an overdue hiker on the Bright Angel Trail on the evening of November 28. An investigator interviewed family members and gathered information while a hasty search of the trail was conducted. Additional hasty teams were deployed early the following morning; they were augmented by a park helicopter that searched the area below Plateau Point and north of Indian Gardens on the Tonto Plateau. A spotter on the helicopter located the body about 600 feet below the point. The victims description matched that of the missing hiker. As rangers began organizing for a recovery operation, dispatch received several reports of a possible fall from the Bright Angel Trail. Rescuers headed down the trail and reached the victim within a few minutes. The person had fallen about 150 feet and suffered fatal injuries. An expanded ICS operation was put into place, with a division supervisor assigned to each incident. Peer counselors were assigned to the family and friends of each of the victims to help them deal with their respective losses and to assist with logistical needs. Rescuers conducted aerial reconnaissance of each site to determine the safest and most efficient way to access, document and extract the bodies. Separate teams were then deployed to document the accident scenes and remove the bodies. Investigations into the causes of the falls are underway. Ranger KJ Glover served as operations chief for the incident.
[Submitted by Hunter Bailey, Incident Commander]