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Contact: Maureen Oltrogge, 928-638-7779
Grand Canyon, Ariz. - Last night at approximately 9:30 Grand Canyon National Park rangers received a report that a 19 year-old male hiker had sustained injuries from a rock fall that occurred in an area of the canyon known as the "Box". The Box is located in a steep canyon approximately nine miles below the North Rim on the North Kaibab Trail. A significant thunderstorm was passing over the area when the incident occurred.
The young man was brought to Phantom Ranch by those that he was hiking with. Park rangers responded and immediately began to provide medical treatment. Although park rangers requested a helicopter for medical transport last night, due to weather conditions the helicopter was unable to respond until early this morning. The patient was transported in critical condition to the Flagstaff Medical Center by Guardian air ambulance at approximately 6:00 a.m.
Last night's storm also caused damage to a section of the River Trail, located on the south side of the river across from Phantom Ranch. The River Trail is still open to hikers; however, mule trips have been temporarily diverted to the South Kaibab Trail.
The weather forecast calls for additional thunderstorms in the Grand Canyon area over the next several days. Thunderstorms can develop rapidly, and cause rock slides and flash flooding. Hikers are advised to be especially cautious during storm activity and should take precautions based on the areas they are hiking in, as well as current and predicted weather conditions.
An investigation is being conducted by the National Park Service.
For additional information on weather and hiking during the monsoon season, please visit the park's website at http://www.nps.gov/grca/parknews/upload/trip-planner-grca.pdf or call the park's Backcountry Information Center at 928-638-7585.