A 60-year-old woman lost her life during a capsize event on the Colorado River this past Monday. Two other adults were airlifted out of the Grand Canyon on Tuesday with minor shoulder injuries from the same accident. Although the Grand is world famous for challenging big water rapids, it is rare for motorized commercial rafts to flip.
According to an article from AP News, the accident occurred on the Kwagunt Rapid which features a prominent 12-foot drop and ranks moderate on the difficulty scale. Due to adverse weather, helicopter rescue crews were unable to immediately respond. Kaitlyn Thomas, a spokeswoman for the Grand Canyon declined to identify the victims or the tour operator involved but expressed condolences to the family of the deceased and those involved stating, “…we ask for everyone to give them space and time to deal with these events.” The circumstances surrounding the accident are currently being reviewed.
This tragedy reminds us of the close proximity to disaster that all backcountry and remote wilderness guides experience daily on the job. The Whale Foundation (named for Curtis “Whale” Hansen) is an organization based in Flagstaff, AZ that works to offer mental and emotional support resources to the River Guide community. Check them out, buy some art or merch, and support the people who help us experience the great outdoors.
Featured Photo by NPS.gov & Troy Reed