Shorthaul Rescue of Stranded Boaters from Havasu Canyon, August 17, 2008

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Shorthaul Rescue of Stranded Boaters - Duration 01m 17s
NPS Video by Brandon Torres.
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Late in the afternoon on Saturday, August 16, Havasu Canyon, a popular side canyon of the Grand Canyon, flash flooded as a result of heavy, localized, monsoon rains.

That evening, the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center received word that five unmanned rafts had been seen floating down the Colorado River with supplies and personal floatation devices aboard. Initial investigation by the National Park Service (NPS) indicated that these rafts belonged to a single, private boating party of 16 individuals whose itinerary would have put then in the vicinity of Havasu Canyon at the time of the flood.

A rafter who had been stranded by flood waters on a ledge above Havasu Creek is lowered to the shore of the Colorado River.
A rafter who had been stranded by flood waters on a ledge above Havasu Creek is lowered to the shore of the Colorado River.

NPS Photo by Brandon Torres

At approximately 10:45 a.m. on Sunday, August 17, an NPS helicopter found the party of 16 stranded on a ledge at the confluence of Havasu Creek and the Colorado River. The NPS used a short haul rescue technique to move group members, one at a time, from the ledge to the shore of the Colorado River where they could be picked up by helicopter and flown to Hualapai Hilltop. From there, the group was transported by bus to a Red Cross shelter in Peach Springs, Arizona

To ensure the safety of park visitors, NPS river rangers contacted groups who were still upriver from the confluence of Havasu Creek and the Colorado River to inform them of the conditions at the confluence.

The group's five rafts and three kayaks were found approximately 35 miles downstream of Havasu Canyon. The boats were secured to shore by other river trips. The River Ranger Crew then towed the boats to Diamond Creek where they were returned to their outfitter.

Havasu Canyon and the village of Supai are located on the Havasupai Reservation adjacent to Grand Canyon National Park. Within the national park, no flood damage was reported and all roads, facilities and trails are currently open.

Anyone concerned about friends or family members who may have been evacuated as a result of this event should visit the American Red Cross web site at then click on "Registers" and "Safe and Well".

For information regarding visitation to the Supai area or the status of trails leading to and within the Supai area, please call the Supai Canyon Information Center at 928-444-2121, 2141, 2170, or 2180, or visit the Havasupai Tribe web site at


Related Information

Final News Releases - August 19, 2008
- Rescue Operation of Stranded Boaters Completed At Grand Canyon
- Supai Canyon Successfully Evacuated

River Trip Opportunities and Permits
There are three different river trip opportunities through Grand Canyon National Park.

Grand Canyon National Park River Management
River Trip Planning Resources, Recreational Launch Calendars, Regulations.

River Ranger Crew Log
This web page is designed to let you know what changes the River Ranger Crew finds in the canyon, what we as a crew are working on and how you can help.

Backcountry Hiking in Grand Canyon National Park
Going on a hike is wonderful way to experience some of the canyon’s rich natural beauty and immense size. However, even if you are an avid hiker, hiking the Grand Canyon is very different from most other hiking experiences.

Last updated: December 11, 2017

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