An unidentified tourist has died after plunging more than six hundred feet down a cliff wall at the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona.
According to witnesses, the man fell over the edge of the canyon wall near Pipe Creek Vista along the south side of the rim, about one mile east of South Entrance Road junction. Authorities were notified of the accident shortly after noon. Efforts to recover the body lasted well into the evening.
Due to the dangerous conditions, rescue crews could only reach the body by rappelling down the massive canyon wall. Once rescuers reached the victim, the body was lifted out using a sophisticated rope and pulley system. The incident is still being investigated, and the name of the victim has not been made available.
This is not the first fatal fall along the 277 mile long canyon. In February, a twenty-four year old Ioana Elise Hociota fell 300 feet to her death in Owl Eyes Canyon, about thirty miles west of Grand Canyon village. Her body was located along the cliff below and was airlifted out by helicopter.
According to records, approximately 600 people have died in the Grand Canyon since the 1870's. 54 deaths can be attributed to falls. The deadliest accident in the canyon occurred in 1956. A total of 128 lives were lost when two commercial aircraft collided above the canyon while flying in unmonitored airspace. This accident led to many changes in air traffic control over the canyon.