Grand Canyon: Fourth person dies in a month after veering off trail

Chris Riotta

A woman has suffered a fatal fall at the Grand Canyon National Park after veering off a trail and plummeting nearly 200 feet, park officials confirmed.

The 70-year-old woman fell Tuesday near the South Rim inside the national park. Her death marked the third fatal fall at the historic US landmark in recent weeks, while the cause of another person’s death in late-March remains under investigation.

The woman had reportedly been walking about 200 to 300 feet (60 to 90 metres) off a trail along the South Rim about a mile east of Mather Point.

Park rangers got a call just after 1pm that she needed help west of a popular overlook called Pipe Creek Vista.

“She fell before we could undertake a rescue,” said Grand Canyon spokesman John Quinley, adding that the circumstances of the call for help were unclear.

Mr Quinley said the woman fell between Mather Point and the starting point for the South Kaibab Trail, two well-known and highly visited places at the park’s more popular South Rim.

The park’s helicopter and rescue team recovered the body.

The woman’s name was being withheld until her family can be notified. Park officials didn’t immediately release the woman’s hometown.

On 3 April, a 67-year-old California man fatally fell 400 feet (122 metres) from the edge of the South Rim in Grand Canyon Village, near the Yavapai Geology Museum.

A tourist from Macau, China, also fell to his death on 28 March. The man was trying to take a photo at Grand Canyon West’s Eagle Point — close to the Skywalk located on the Hualapai Reservation outside the park — when he stumbled and fell.

The body of a Japanese tourist was found March 26 in a wooded area south of Grand Canyon Village, away from the rim.

Park officials said about 12 people die each year within the park. The deaths can be attributed to everything from accidental falls to heat, as well as drownings during rafting trips on the Colorado River.

The Associated Press contributed to this report