With odds dwindling quickly, the search for two young men missing in the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park is being scaled back.
Three young men -- Mark Merrill, 16, Joey Merrill, 22, and Saif Savaya, 16 -- dived or jumped into the river last Thursday in the area of Phantom Ranch. They were trying to swim across the river. None was wearing a life jacket, according to park officials.
Mark Merrill's body was recovered in the Colorado River on Friday, May 1, approximately one mile below Boat Beach. The bodies of Joey Merrill and Saif Savaya have yet to be located.
After an intensive two-day search by helicopter, by boat, foot patrols and the use of a search dog team, park rangers began to scale back search operations on Saturday after their search yielded no further signs of the young men. That decision was based on the totality of all circumstances, including water temperature, the swift current, no life jackets were worn, and all three were likely fatigued from their long hike to the river.
Park rangers will carry on with limited continuous efforts until the young men have been located and recovered. Those efforts include ranger patrols on the river and on nearby trails, enlisting the assistance of the many commercial and private boaters currently on the river, and continued distribution of a missing person’s flyer to boaters and hikers along the river.
Park officials say additional news releases will be issued only as new details become available.