News Release

One Fatality and Multiple Injured after Flash Flood in Grand Canyon National Park

Tatahatso Flash Flood following a monsoon rain-July 2018
Tatahatso flash flood-July 2018

NPS Photo/M. Jenkins

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News Release Date: July 16, 2021

Contact: Kaitlyn Thomas, 202-763-3440

Contact: Joelle Baird, 928-606-3154

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - On July 14 at approximately 6:00 p.m., the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center received a report of two individuals missing and multiple parties injured after flash flood activity impacted Tatahatso Camp near River Mile 38 on the Colorado River. Grand Canyon Search and Rescue sent two paramedics to the scene to assess and treat patients. Active monsoonal weather in the area limited access to the scene
for overnight search and rescue operations.

At approximately 2:30 a.m., one patient who was in critical condition was flown out via
Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) helicopter from the area. Four additional patients
were evacuated by air on July 15 to the Flagstaff Medical Center; they are in stable condition
at this time.

At approximately 11 a.m. on July 15, the Grand Canyon Regional Communications
Center received a report that a commercial river trip had located the two missing individuals
near Tatahatso Camp, one deceased and one uninjured. The deceased has been identified
as Rebecca Copeland, 29, of Ann Arbor Michigan.

Flash floods are common in the desert southwest, including Northern Arizona. This is because the arid, sparsely vegetated environments found in these areas have little capacity to absorb rainfall. The resulting runoff moves rapidly through the narrow canyons and steep terrain found throughout the region. In many areas, even small storms can turn normally dry
streambeds into raging torrents of water in a matter of minutes. Be alert for the possibility of
flash flooding anytime that rainfall is forecast. For more information on weather dangers in
Grand Canyon National Park visit:

An investigation into the incident is being conducted by the National Park Service in
coordination with the Coconino County Medical Examiner. No additional information is
available at this time.


Last updated: July 16, 2021

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