Two more deadly falls at the Grand Canyon follow dozens of others

Two recent deaths in which men have plunged into the Grand Canyon are the result of dozens of seemingly accidental fatal falls since the creation of the national park 100 years ago.

PHOENIX (AP) – Two recent deaths in which men have plunged into the Grand Canyon follow dozens of seemingly accidental fatal falls since the national park was established 100 years ago.

Michael Obritsch, of Santa Rosa, California, died on April 3 after falling from the edge of the south shore in the Grand Canyon Village, near the Yavapai Geology Museum.

His body was found more than 122 meters under the rim, according to park officials.

A tourist from Macao, China died on March 28th. The man was at least 50 years old, park officials said.

The man was trying to take a picture at Eagle Point of Grand Canyon West – near the Skywalk in the Hualapai Game Reserve outside the park – when he stumbled and fell, The Arizona Republic reported earlier this week.

The body of a Japanese tourist was found on March 26 in a forested area south of the Grand Canyon village, away from the edge.

The three deaths are still under investigation by National Park Service and Coconino County Medical Examination Departments, according to Park spokeswoman Vanessa Ceja. -Cervantes.

No amount of traffic signs, railings or even verbal warnings will be enough to stop the falls, said Michael P. Ghiglieri, author of "Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon".

Sixty-four fatal falls have been recorded in the park's history, said Ghiglieri. Forty-nine of the victims were men and 15 were women. Many deaths imply that someone passes around a guardrail to get close to the edge or accidentally leaves the rim.

This number does not include deaths declared suicidal.

Park officials are not currently planning to increase the presence of balustrades or road signs in light of the many deaths, Ceja-Cervantes said. Many panels are already commonplace in the busy areas of the canyon.

Only one person died in the park in 2018. Andrey Privin of Illinois died in July after crossing the guardrail of Mather Point, a popular viewpoint on the south shore. Some visitors said they saw Privin throw his backpack over the guardrail and at a planned landing point before jumping. He fell 152 meters (500 feet) from death.

About 12 people die each year in the park, said Ceja-Cervantes. Deaths can be attributed to anything from accidental falls to heat deaths and drowning when rafting down the Colorado River.


Information from: The Arizona Republic,

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