2 Missing From Grand Canyon Rafting Trip After Flash Flood

By Jill Ryan
Associated Press
Published: Thursday, July 15, 2021 - 11:25am
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Authorities are searching for two people who were on a river rafting trip through the Grand Canyon and went missing after a flash flood, a park spokeswoman said Thursday. This happened after the Bureau of Reclamation warned that the Colorado River may fluctuate without warning during the summer months.

Authorities got a call Wednesday evening from someone on a commercial trip on the Colorado River saying people had been injured and asking for emergency help, said park spokesman Joelle Baird. Park crews launched a search from the ground, water and air for at least two people who are missing, she said.

No other information on the identities of the missing people was immediately released.

The flood hit the people on the trip as they were camped at the mouth of a side canyon almost 40 miles from where the rafts launched at Lees Ferry near the Arizona-Utah state line. Baird did not immediately know the extent of injuries for other passengers that were traveling on two rafts.

The region that has been desperate for rain after two years of dismal monsoon activity has been hammered lately, with more rain in the forecast. Radar showed about an inch of rain along that stretch of the Colorado River, the National Weather Service said.

About an hour from the Grand Canyon, floodwaters swept through Flagstaff for the past two days, sending a car floating down a city street. Residents in the shadow of a mountain that burned in 2019 had been somewhat prepared for a major flood with sandbags around their homes and concrete barriers to redirect water. Still, many of them have been digging mud, logs and debris from their front yards.

The threat of flash flooding will remain through next week, the National Weather Service said, though the coverage will be more scattered than widespread.

“The moisture is not going anywhere, and it will heat up as well, so those are perfect ingredients for thunderstorms in the afternoon and evenings in Arizona,” said meteorologist Evan LaGuardia in Flagstaff.

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