GC VILLAGE — Visiting Grand Canyon National Park with perhaps a Disneyland mentality, a 20-year-old man and a 17-year-old girl found themselves a few steps away from certain death after exploring over barriers on the South Rim early last week.
Grand Canyon National Park ranger Jennifer Flynn, left, climbs down to where two people were told to stay put.
Rangers had originally received a call from Verkamp’s employees who reported that the man and girl had been throwing large-sized rocks, an allegation they later denied, over the edge.
After arriving on scene, the couple, a brother and sister, were found about 50 feet below the rim after they had been climbing around in the area.
Ranger Don Miller was the initial ranger on scene and after seeing where the two people were, he decided to call in technical assistance to help them get out.
"He wanted to make sure they got out safely," said Rosie Peragine, park ranger who was the incident commander. "They were kind of on a ledge, so it was a stable spot. Once Donnie Miller saw them, he told them to stay put and don’t move."
The rescue crew soon arrived and Jennifer Flynn repelled over the edge to the tourists on the small overhang. The pair was just a few feet from the edge, which in that area is a straight drop several hundred feet down. They were outfitted with harnesses and helmets, hooked up to a line and pulled to safety one at a time.
"They didn’t seem scared," Peragine said. "They thought of it as more of an adventure. They didn’t realize the situation."
Grand Canyon National Park rangers respond to all types of situations involving visitors who do not realize the dangers of horsing around on the rim.
"Occasionally, you’ll hear a report and the folks are gone," Peragrine said. "But it was an ongoing thing with these two. They were there for a period of time."
Such acts turn out to not only be dangerous for the people who get themselves into the situation, but also for others in the area who may mimic their actions and for the rescuers themselves who risk their lives repelling over the edge.
The National Park Service cautions visitors to not go over barriers and exercise caution while viewing the Grand Canyon from the rim.