Rangers retrieve bodies at Grand Canyon

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. – Rangers at Grand Canyon National Park retrieved the bodies of two separate fall victims on April 27.

Rangers received a report from the Peregrine Fund of a possible body spotted below the South Rim in the Mather Point area on Thursday, April 26, at around 5 p.m.  Due to poor weather conditions and the late hour, rangers had to wait until Friday to confirm the report.

Rangers visually confirmed a body had been found.  Around 11 a.m., rangers rappelled about 500 feet below the rim west of Mather Point and traversed to the body to begin their investigations and prepare the body for transport.  At approximately 4:30 p.m., the body was retrieved via helicopter and transported to the park’s Emergency Operations Center where it was transferred to the Coconino County Medical Examiner.

The body has been presumptively identified as Shaw Joseph Ostermann, 47, of Tempe, Ariz., whom rangers had been attempting to locate since April 16, when his car was identified as possibly abandoned in a parking lot near the Grand Canyon Visitor Center and Mather Point.

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

Rangers also received reports of a potentially suicidal woman heading to the Grand Canyon on April 26 from the Phoenix Police Department.

Described only as a “white female,” she was sighted by a shuttle driver at 6:50 a.m. at the Trail View overlook located near the West Grand Canyon Village on April 26. Rangers soon found the woman’s vehicle parked at Bright Angel Lodge.

At around 11 a.m., a park helicopter recruited for the search spotted the woman’s body about 100 feet below the Trail View overlook. Poor weather conditions delayed retrieval of the body until Friday morning. The body was transported to the park’s Emergency Operations Center where it was then transferred to the Coconino County Medical Examiner.

The woman’s name is being withheld pending positive identification and notification of next of kin.

An investigation into the incident is being conducted by the National Park Service with the assistance of the Coconino County Medical Examiner.

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