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Sat, Oct. 19

Belgian tourist dies<br>on Tonto Trail hike

A Belgian tourist died on an inner-canyon hike Friday, apparently after having difficulty finding water.

The man, whose identity and age had not been released by the National Park Service before presstime, was on a backpacking trip with three other Belgian men last week.

The group began hiking on Tuesday of last week for a scheduled three-day, two-night trip in a remote area of Grand Canyon.

The victim’s hiking partners reported difficulty finding water and changed their plans to make trips to the Colorado River for water.

At 4:30 p.m. Friday, the NPS received a report from a commercial river trip operator who said there was a hiker in severe distress along the Tonto Trail. The hiker was reported to be two miles west of the Tonto Trail’s intersection with the South Bass Trail.

The hiker’s companions hiked down to the river for water where they asked the river trip operator to call for help.

Park rangers happened to already be in the area on another medical call. The helicopter was diverted to the hiker on the Tonto Trail and arrived at 4:47 p.m.

The man was declared dead at the scene. He was evacuated to the South Rim and was transported to the Coconino County Medical Examiner’s Office. An investigation into the cause and circumstances of his death is underway.

Hiking during the hottest time of the day and lack of water could be key factors leading to the man’s demise. NPS officials advise hikers to begin hikes before 7 a.m. or after 4 p.m., eat and drink regularly while hiking and don’t hike during the hottest part of the day.

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