Grand Canyon park staff recover body at South Rim, 7th death this year

Stock Image | St. George News

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. – The body of a Florida man who park officials believe committed suicide has been recovered at Grand Canyon National Park, marking the seventh death at the national park in 2015.

At approximately 2:30 p.m. Saturday, the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center received a call alerting officials to a potential suicide west of the South Kaibab Trailhead. 

Responding park rangers were able to locate the body of 38-year-old Wanjung Ra of Gainesville, Florida, a news release issued by the park Tuesday said. Park staff were able to remove Ra’s body the same day and turned it over to the Coconino County Medical Examiner.

Ra is the seventh death confirmed in Grand Canyon National Park in 2015, according to the park’s news releases this year. Two of the seven deaths, including this one, have been characterized as suicides. The Grand Canyon has a resident population of about 2,500 people, park spokesman Kirby-Lynn Shedlowski said. Resident deaths are not included in these statistics.

A May 2015 report published by The Atlantic City Lab, estimated some 770 people have died at the Grand Canyon since the mid-1800s. “Due to inconsistencies in the record, the real number is probably higher,” City Lab reported.

Causes of death at the Grand Canyon include suicides, hypothermia, dehydration, accidental falls and even plane crashes, among others. See City Lab’s mapping of Grand Canyon deaths here.

This report is based on preliminary information released by the park and may not reflect ultimate findings. An investigation into Saturday’s incident is being conducted by the National Park Service and the Coconino County Medical Examiner, the park’s news release said. No further information is available at this time.

St. George News reporter Ric Wayman contributed to this report.

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Twitter: @JoyceKuzmanic  @STGnews

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  • SteveSGU October 1, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Once again you are just using a photo to fill space. That is not a photo of the Grand Canyon.

    • Joyce Kuzmanic October 3, 2015 at 2:02 pm

      Our records differ, Steve – perhaps your geographical savvy offers another idea of what is depicted? I’m glad to pursue it if so.

  • fun bag October 3, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    it looks like the gc

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