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Sun, Feb. 23

Yavapai Pt. fall<br>kills California man

YAVAPAI POINT — It was only seven weeks ago when the National Park Service was celebrating the opening of the Greenway Trail System with a ceremony at Yavapai Point.

Park rangers take a look below Yavapai Point Wednesday after a suicide.

Uniformed park rangers, curious onlookers and the media found themselves at Yavapai Point again this past Wednesday but it was no happy occasion. A 52-year-old California man jumped off the rim to his death.

Witnesses to the accident said the man, identified later as Richard Gibbs, Venice, Calif., was sitting on the edge, dangling his feet when he suddenly jumped in.

Gibbs was apparently traveling alone and had a wife in California.

The fatality occurred at 2:20 p.m., near the Yavapai Amphitheater. That particular spot is a straight drop down. The man’s body came to rest about 400 feet below the rim.

Park rangers followed with the recovery operation the same afternoon. The body was transported to the Coconino County Medical Examiner’s Office.

There was a tourist with a video camera who captured the man on tape before the fall. He did not tape the actual incident.

It was the third fatality from the Canyon rim this year. Eighteen-year-old Sandra Elizondo fell at Grandeur Point on Feb. 20 in an unsolved case. Last month, a Japanse tourist fell at Mohave Point.

A fourth fatality from a fall occurred within the Canyon when a 13-year-old boy fell on a hike up from the river.

In a side note to the incident, investigators found another set of human remains in the same area below Yavapai Point.

Investigators believe the bones are old and not the result of any recent incident. The case remains under investigation.

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