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Grand Canyon National Park Rangers Scaling Back Search For Two Missing in Colorado River


Search efforts are being scaled back for two men missing since they jumped into the Colorado River near the Black Bridge upstream of Phantom Ranch last week. Kurt Repanshek photo.

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.


Saif, I miss you so much.
I will never forget what happened that day at the Grand Canyon. I wish I didn't have to see you go =(...
There are some mean comments posted here---Geez if you have nothing encouraging to write, then back off and don't be so rude. It was definitely not death by stupid.  

Respect the families LynnBerk.
Nobody is perfect...

Saif, Praying day by day for a miracle. stay strongg. ♥

No offence, but when you knew saif like me and my whole school did, you would know that all he ever did was help others. we only knew him for a year, and then he moved to arizona. yes he made a mistake, but were all grieving for him. <333

We all love you saif!!! were all praying for you and waiting for you too come home!! <3333 everyone at sterling heights high are thinking of you!! come home soon! we love youu!!!

miss u saif hope a safe return were praying for u buddy please come back we all miss u

You don't know the circumstances. Knowing Saif personally, I can easily say he was the nicest guy I have ever met. If you died like this, would you want people saying stuff like that about you? And also basically mimicing you? Get some maturity, grow up. You must'nt have a concience.

Saif Savaya, i hope everything turns out for the best. I love you man.

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