Desert View Drive in Grand Canyon National Park is Closed as Rangers Clear Multiple Accidents
Contact: Shannan Marcak, 928-638-7958
Grand Canyon, Ariz. – Grand Canyon National Park rangers and road crews continue to work on clearing Desert View Drive of multiple accidents after light snow fell on wet roads just as evening temperatures dropped below freezing on Tuesday, December 29.
At approximately 5:00 p.m., the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center began receiving multiple calls reporting accidents in the vicinity of Buggeln Hill on Desert View Drive, also known as the East Rim Drive. Shortly thereafter, additional calls began coming in reporting the rollover of a 15 passenger van and possible car over the edge in the vicinity of Navajo Point, located between Buggeln Hill and Desert View. The National Park Service immediately paged out all available emergency responders to assist with the incidents.
Emergency crews arrived at Buggeln Hill at approximately 5:30 p.m. and found multiple accidents, involving approximately 40 vehicles, blocking the road. After determining that no serious injuries were being reported, crews began working to clear a lane so that additional emergency responders could continue on to Navajo Point.
Responders from Desert View arrived at the scene of the Navajo Pont accident at approximately 5:30 p.m. and found a 15 passenger van over the edge approximately 25 feet below the rim. The van’s six passengers had already exited the vehicle and were reporting only minor injuries. Initial investigations indicate that the van slid over the edge and rolled down the embankment.
Two ambulances and additional ranger staff from Grand Canyon Village arrived at the Navajo Point accident scene at approximately 6:10 p.m. once a lane at Buggeln Hill had been cleared. After being examined by park Emergency Medical Technicians, two of the van’s six passengers were transported to Flagstaff Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. The other four passengers were transported to Tusayan where they will stay the night.
Desert View Drive is currently expected to re-open sometime tomorrow.
Those planning to visit the Grand Canyon area should be aware that winter driving conditions are expected to persist in the park as periodic snow storms are followed by daytime melting and nighttime freezing. Park visitors are encouraged to tune their radios to AM 1610 where they can hear recommendations for driving in winter conditions.
The National Park Service is investigating these incidents.