GRAND CANYON, Ariz. – On Sunday June 30 at approximately 3:30 p.m. the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center received a call from the emergency phone at Phantom Ranch Boat Beach with a report of an unconscious female hiker approximately three-quarters of a mile above Phantom Ranch on the South Kaibab Trail within Grand Canyon National Park.
Park rangers responding from the Phantom Ranch ranger station initiated CPR upon arriving on scene, but efforts to resuscitate the victim were unsuccessful.
The body was flown by helicopter to the South Rim helibase and transferred to the Coconino County Medical Examiner.
The woman was in a group of five people on the first day of a multi-day backcountry hiking permit, heading down to the Phantom Ranch.
The South Kaibab is a steep, exposed trail, and the high temperature for Phantom Ranch yesterday afternoon was 113 degrees.
This area of Grand Canyon National Park has been subject to water restrictions due to a rupture in the Trans-Canyon Water Pipeline. Visitors hiking to Phantom Ranch have been advised to be self-sufficient and to carry or treat all drinking water. See previous story here.
However, Vanya Pryputniewicz, Public Affairs Officer for the Park said that repairs have been completed to the pipeline and it was operational by noon on Sunday if not Saturday night.
Pryputniewicz said the party was together when the woman had difficulty. The other members of the party were flown by the National Park Service to the South Rim yesterday evening.
There are three trails that lead to the Phantom Ranch. The South Kaibab, the North Kaibab and the Bright Angel Trails. The South Kaibab Trail that the hiking party was using on their way down to the Phantom Ranch is a waterless trail year-round, Pryputniewicz said, while the North Kaibab and Bright Angel Trails do have drinking water.
“The South Kaibab trail does not have any shade or water at anytime,” Pryputniewicz said.
The identity of the victim is being withheld pending family notification. Pryputniewicz said she has no information as to where the party is from.
The National Park Service is conducting an investigation into the incident, in coordination with the Coconino County Medical Examiner, and an autopsy is being performed to determine the cause of death.
That said, Pryputniewicz said there is no indication of foul play.
No further information is available at this time.
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