Updated: Search Continues for Missing Hiker at Grand Canyon National Park
Additional resources have been added in the search for a 43-year-old North Carolina man thought to be missing at Grand Canyon National Park. Park officials are seeking the assistance of anyone who has visited the park within the last week and might have information on his whereabouts.
The search for Mr. Brunelli began on September 4 when the Coconino County Sherriff’s Office (CCSO) received a report that he had not checked out of his hotel (the Grand Canyon Inn in Valle, Arizona) when expected and that his things were still in the room. Further investigation by the CCSO led them to believe that Mr. Brunelli had intended to go day hiking at the Grand Canyon during his time in the area.
On September 5, the National Park Service received word that Mr. Brunelli might be in the park and rangers began searching parking areas near major trail heads on the South Rim. A short time later, a blue Hyundai Accent rented in Brunelli’s name was located in the Grandview Point parking area. With no other leads to guide the search, efforts are now focused on the Grandview-Hance area on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
Grandview Point, where Mr. Brunelli's blue Hyundai Accent rental car was found, is located on the Desert View Drive, 12 miles east of Grand Canyon Village.
Yesterday’s search efforts consisted of aerial search operations over major drainages and rim areas and six teams of ground searchers covering trails and routes within the search area. In addition, missing person posters were distributed in local communities as well as to major bus and tour companies who frequent the park and the Grandview area.
Today, searchers will continue ground and aerial operations. In addition, two dog teams and searchers with technical rope and canyoneering skills will be joining the search. The dog teams will be focused on rim areas adjacent to the trail head where vegetation and steep terrain inhibit human searchers. The technical searchers will begin traveling steep narrow drainages where a lost hiker could easily become cliffed out [stranded on a cliff and unable to continue either up or down.]
Park investigators are currently seeking the assistance of anyone who has visited the Grand Canyon within the last week and might have seen Andrew Brunelli. Mr. Brunelli is 43 years old and is described as 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 200 pounds, with short medium-brown hair and grey-blue eyes. He may or may not be unshaven at this time.
Mr. Brunelli was last seen entering the park’s South Entrance station just north of Tusayan, Arizona at approximately 5:00 a.m. on August 31. He was staying at the Grand Canyon Inn in Valle, Arizona, and was last seen by hotel staff on August 30.
If you believe that you might have seen Andrew Brunelli on August 31 or thereafter, please contact the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center at 928-638-7805.
The National Park Service is conducting an investigation into this incident and is working closely with the Coconino County Sherriff’s Office on the investigation and on search and rescue efforts.