1 Dead and Multiple Injured After Flash Flood in Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

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flash flood, Grand Canyon,
Tatahatso flash flood-July 2018. Credit: NPS Photo/M. Jenkins

On July 14 at approximately 6:00 pm, 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 am, one patient 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 am 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: https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/weather-dangers.htm

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.

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