Rangers Need Nearly Five Hours To Recover Man's Body From Below South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park

It took Grand Canyon rangers nearly five hours Friday to recover the body of a young man found nearly 700 feet below the South Rim. Rangers were first lowered by helicopter to a spot inside the rim from where they could rappel down to the victim. Photos courtesy of Riley and Karen Caton via NPS.

It took Grand Canyon National Park rangers nearly five hours to recover the body of a young man spotted far below the park's South Rim, and authorities worked into the night Friday to identify the man.

According to a park release, the body was almost 700 feet below the rim in the area of the park's headquarters in a steep, narrow drainage. Due to the hard-to-reach location, rangers had to stage the recovery effort in different components to reach the body Friday morning.

First, a two-person recovery team was transported via short haul (hanging on a fixed line below a helicopter) to an insertion site approximately 75 feet above the fatality. Once at the insertion site, the recovery team established anchor systems and rappelled down to the location of the fatality. Once on location, rangers documented the scene and prepared the body for transport. The body was then retrieved via long-line operation (attached to a fixed line below a helicopter) and flown to the South Rim where it was met by the Coconino County Medical Examiner. The recovery team then climbed back to their insertion point, de-rigged their anchors and were flown back to the rim via short haul.

Twenty-five personnel were involved in the operation. The identity of the young man was to be determined by the Coconino County Medical Examiner.

An investigation into the incident is being conducted by the National Park Service with the assistance of the Coconino County Medical Examiner’s Office.