UPDATED: 2 hikers missing in Grand Canyon after being swept away in creek

Grand Canyon National Park | Stock image, St. George News

Updated 10 a.m. Tuesday The search for two missing hikers continues Tuesday morning with three ground teams, Grand Canyon National Parks officials said. A helicopter, a drone and a motorized boat are also being used in the search effort.

ST. GEORGE — A 14-year-old boy and his 62-year-old stepgrandmother are missing after attempting to cross a creek in a remote area of the north rim of Grand Canyon National Park Saturday.

Tapeats Creek in Grand Canyon National Park near where two hikders were swept away in the creek, Coconino County, Arizona, April 16, 2017 | Photo courtesy of the National Park Service via AP, St. George News

The boy, Jackson Standefer of Tennessee, and his stepgrandmother Lou-Ann Merrell, a resident of a city in eastern Utah, were hiking with two other people near the confluence of Tapeats Creek and Thunder River when they lost their footing and were swept away in the rushing water down Tapeats Creek, according to a news release from the National Park Service.

Park officials were alerted to the situation by the pair’s fellow hikers.

Search and rescue personnel were dispatched to the area and were still searching as of Monday with plans to stay in the area overnight. Backcountry hiking groups and Colorado River trips in the area were also alerted.

Park descriptions of the area describe the creek as impossible to cross during heavy rains or spring snow melts.

Lou-Ann Merrell, who is the wife of Merrell Boot Co. founder Randy Merrell, is described as an avid hiker.

This undated photo shows Jackson Standefer. Authorities searched Grand Canyon National Park for eighth-grader Standefer and his step-grandmother who were swept away as they tried to cross a creek in a remote part of the park. | Photo courtesy of Mark McOmie via AP, St. George News

“If they can get to a spot where they cannot be in the water and stay warm, she’s (Lou-Ann Merrell) got the skills needed to get them through it. The odds aren’t great. But given their skills and knowledge of the area, that will probably lead to the best possible outcome,” Mark McOmie, the boy’s uncle, said in a report by the Associated Press.

Standefer has black hair and is described as 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighing 105 pounds. He was last seen wearing black Nike shorts, a long-sleeved white Columbia T-shirt with “Columbia” written on the sleeve and navy blue Chaco sandals. He was carrying a new sage green backpack.

Lou-Ann Merrell is described as having blonde hair and green eyes, 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighing 145 pounds. She was last seen wearing khaki zip-off shorts, a blue-green button-down short-sleeved shirt and blue water shoes. She was carrying a homemade blue backpack with a maroon fleece and hiking poles attached.

The park is asking anyone with information on the pair’s whereabouts to call 928-638-7805.

The Associated Press reporters Jacques Billeaud and Sheila Burke contributed to this report.

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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