A search is under way in Grand Canyon National Park for two Salt Lake City residents who are thought to have headed into the western portion of the park for a 45-mile backpacking trek.
Alan Humphrey and Iris Faraklas were reported overdue on Sunday after failing to arrive in Prescott, Arizona, as planned. The two were thought to be headed to Prescott after spending a week in the park.
Late Monday afternoon rangers tracked down a friend of the couple who said they had planned to backpack the Royal Arch route—a difficult, 45-mile-loop. At the same time, rangers learned that Iris had maintained her maiden name, Faraklas, and may have obtained a permit under that name. Searchers immediately rechecked backcountry permits for this second name and found a permit issued for May 17 – 23 in the name of Iris Faraklas for two people to travel the Royal Arch route.
With that information in hand, rangers last night found the couple's vehicle parked at the South Bass trailhead. This morning search and rescue rangers flew the southern portion of the Royal Arch route, focusing along the rim and on areas known to be more technically challenging. During this initial hasty search the couple was not found, but hikers along the trail were contacted and interviewed to determine if any hikers in the area had seen or made contact with the pair.
After refueling, search and rescue rangers flew the remainder of the Royal Arch route, as well as other high probability areas, without locating the couple. Two teams of rescuers are now searching the Royal Arch route on foot.
Rangers described Alan P. Humphrey, 39, as standing 6-foot-1, weighing 190 pounds, and with blond hair and blue eyes. His wife, Iris Faraklas, is 35, 5’10” and 150 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes.
Anyone with information about Alan Humphrey or Iris Faraklas are being asked to contact Grand Canyon’s Emergency Dispatch Center at 928-638-7805.