A body believed to be that of a missing North Carolina man was retrieved from Grand Canyon National Park on Wednesday.
The body, thought to be that of 43-year-old Andrew Brunelli, of Clayton, North Carolina, was found outside of the area that rangers had been searching since the man was reported missing on Saturday, according to park officials. The search had been focused on the Grandview-Hance area below the South Rim, as Mr. Brunelli's rental car had been found at the Grandview parking lot. However, a co-worker who believed Mr. Brunelli’s plans might have been a great deal more extensive than his past history in the park -- one that revolved around short to medium day hikes -- had indicated led rangers to enlarge the search area Wednesday, a park release noted.
By Wednesday morning all of the high-probability areas within the initial search zone had been covered and in many cases re-searched by ground crews, dog teams and technical ropes/canyoneering teams. As a result, ground search crews had begun to scale back operations in the area. With fewer ground search personnel to support, the park’s helicopter was able to engage in aerial search operations beyond the original search zone.
Shortly before 11 a.m. the body was spotted from the air in a drainage north of the Tonto Trail and approximately two miles east of the South Kaibab Trail in the vicinity of Pattie Butte, park officials said, adding that the body was retrieved by helicopter via long-line operation (extended from a fixed line below the helicopter) and taken to the South Rim where it was transferred to the Coconino County Medical Examiner. There were no immediate details indicating how the man had died.