National Park Service: 1 person found alive, 1 dead after flash floods at Grand Canyon

Tatahatso flash flood-July 2018. Photo: National Park Service/M. Jenkins

GRAND CANYON, Arizona, July 17, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — The body of a woman missing after flash flood activity Wednesday in the Grand Canyon has been recovered.

The victim was Rebecca Copeland, 29, of Ann Arbor, Michigan. A second missing person also was located Thursday and was uninjured, the National Park Service says in a statement released Friday.

“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,” the NPS statement says.

“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.”

The final two missing, one alive and one deceased, were found by people on a commercial river trip near Tatahatso Camp.

“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, the NPS statement said, adding that no additional information is available at this time.

Flash floods also are a danger in southern Utah. A warning was issued for southeast Utah as recently as Thursday.


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