Grand Canyon Has Third Death in 2 Weeks As California Man Falls over Edge

Grand Canyon has 3rd death in 2 weeks as man falls over edge

Park rangers responded to a call around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the rim, just east of Yavapai Geology Museum, where witnesses said the man had fallen. According to a news release from the National Park Service, a rescue team, with the aid of the park’s helicopter, recovered the man’s body about 400 feet below the rim. 

A spokeswoman for the park told NBC News the man was visiting the park from California. She did not give the man’s name. 

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Wednesday’s tragedy was the first over-the-edge death inside the Grand Canyon National Park this year. Last year, the park had 17 fatalities within its boundaries, NBC News reported

A visitor from Hong Kong died last week when he stumbled over the edge of the south rim while trying to take pictures, The Associated Press reported. A helicopter was needed in that incident, as well, to recover the man’s body from about 1,000 feet below the rim. 

The man died at Grand Canyon West, a tourist spot on the Hualapai reservation outside the boundaries of the park, the AP reported. He fell at Eagle Point, a site known for the Skywalk.

People walk on the Skywalk on the Hualapai Indian Reservation at Grand Canyon West, Arizona, in this March 20, 2007, file photo. The Grand Canyon, which is among the state's biggest tourist destinations, has had three deaths in the span of about two weeks, including a Hong Kong man who fell to his death about 100 yards from the Skywalk on March 28, 2019.
Photo: AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

According to the National Park Service, the Skywalk, which is managed by the Hualapai Tribe and located on tribal lands, consists of a horseshoe-shaped steel frame with a glass floor and sides that projects about 70 feet from the canyon rim.

The AP reported that while the rim has some ledges and outcroppings below, there are no barriers between tourists and the edge. Signs at Eagle Point warn tourists not to venture too close. 

The man, who was part of a tour group, fell about 100 yards from the Skywalk, a Grand Canyon West spokesman told CNN

The park service and the Coconino County Medical Examiner’s Office were investigating the man’s death, the park’s news release said

>> Related story: 2 die in separate incidents at Grand Canyon

The Hong Kong visitor’s March 28 death was the second in less than a week at the tourist destination. Rangers and special agents on March 26 found the body of a foreign national in a forested area of the park south of the South Rim Village. 

Little was released about the visitor’s death, but park officials said it was not the result of a fall from the rim. The park service and county coroner’s office were investigating that case, as well, CNN reported

Vanessa Ceja-Cervantes, a park spokeswoman, told the network the park averages about 12 fatalities per year, with just a small number of those resulting from falls. 

The causes of those deaths range from heat to drowning to medical issues and more,” Ceja-Cervantes told CNN. “High elevation plays a role in some of the fatalities.”

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