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Search Continues for two young men still missing in Colorado River

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Date: May 2, 2009
Contact: Maureen Oltrogge, 928-638-7779
Contact: Shannan Marcak, 928-638-7958

Grand Canyon, Ariz. – Yesterday afternoon, Grand Canyon National Park Rangers recovered the body of a young man missing since Thursday morning, when he and two others disappeared after jumping into the Colorado River. The young man has been identified as 16 year-old, Mark Merrill.

Mark’s body was located in the Colorado River approximately one mile below Boat Beach, where the young men were last seen. 

Search efforts continue for 22 year-old Joey Merrill and 16 year-old Saif Savaya, the two young men still missing in the Colorado River. Park rangers have searched an area on the river from Boat Beach to Hermit Rapid, a distance of approximately 10 river miles. Rangers have searched by helicopter, by boat and on foot. A search dog and its handler also searched the area below Boat Beach on both sides of the river, and park rangers prepared and distributed a missing person’s flyer to boaters and hikers along the river.

Park rangers will continue to search for the young men during river patrols and have enlisted the assistance of the many commercial and private boaters currently on the river. Missing person posters continue to be distributed to boaters launching from Lees Ferry and to inner canyon hikers.

Additional information about this search will be provided as it becomes available. 

The National Park Service is appreciative of the assistance provided by the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office for their efforts to date, in the search for these young men. The Service is also appreciative of the efforts of Xanterra South Rim, LLC; Delaware North Park Services (Canyon Village Market Place); and those park visitors and volunteers who have provided, and continue to provide, assistance with the search effort, as well as support services to the families of these young men.



Did You Know?


The Cambrian seas of the Grand Canyon were home to several kinds of trilobite, whose closest living relative is the modern horsehoe crab. They left their fossil record in the mud of the Bright Angel Shale over 500 million years ago.