A tourist taking photos dies in fall at Grand Canyon. It’s the 2nd death this week

Posted at 3:29 PM, Mar 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-29 17:29:54-04

Two people died at the Grand Canyon after two separate incidents this week, including a tourist who was taking pictures.

On Thursday, a man from Hong Kong was taking pictures at an overlook of the Grand Canyon when he slipped and fell, according to a spokesman for Grand Canyon West.

A helicopter search began immediately, and a recovery operation is ongoing, according to David Leibowitz, a spokesman for the Eagle Point observation area, who added the man apparently was taking a selfie.

The man was in his late 50s and was part of a tour group visiting the Eagle Point observation area at Grand Canyon West, according to Leibowitz, and he was about 100 yards from the Skywalk.

Skywalk is a horseshoe-shaped glass platform 4,000 feet over the canyon. The Skywalk has glass balustrades and is designed for the safety of visitors who want unique photos of the canyon.

Grand Canyon West is owned and operated by the Hualapai Tribe, according to its website. Eagle Point and nearby Skywalk were closed after the man fell, Leibowitz said, but Skywalk has since reopened.

“The thoughts and prayers of every Grand Canyon West employee remain with the loved ones of this individual and the members of the tour group,” the tourist destination said in a statement.

This was the second death at the Grand Canyon this week.

On Tuesday, according to a statement by the National Park Service (NPS), rangers and special agents responded to a fatality of a visitor near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Vanessa Ceja-Cervantes, a spokeswoman for the park, said that individual did not fall over the rim. She said the victim was a foreign national and that the body was found in a forested area south of the South Rim Village area of the park.

The statement said that the NPS and the Coconino County Medical Examiner are conducting an investigation.

“On average, there about 12 fatalities in the park per year, but a small percentage of those are from fatal falls,” said Ceja-Cervantes. “The causes of those deaths range from heat, to drowning, to medical issues and more. High elevation plays a role in some of the fatalities.”