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Update: video and info on Grand Canyon flood
August 18, 2008 —
Rafters and hikers faced perilous waters after heavy rains created flooding in the area of Supai and the Grand Canyon this past weekend, and several onlookers have captured startling video of the event (navigate to the end of this blog for video).
Like the waters of the Canyon itself, the information coming from the area has been murky at times. With that in mind, here's the official press release from the Park Service:
Late in the afternoon on Saturday, August 16, Havasu Canyon, a popular side canyon of the Grand Canyon, flash flooded as a result of heavy, localized, monsoon rains.
That evening, the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center received word that five unmanned rafts had been seen floating down the Colorado River with supplies and personal floatation devices aboard. Initial investigation by the National Park Service (NPS) indicated that these rafts belonged to a single, private boating party of 16 individuals whose itinerary would have put then in the vicinity of Havasu Canyon at the time of the flood.
At approximately 10:45 a.m. on Sunday, August 17, an NPS helicopter found the party of 16 stranded on a ledge at the confluence of Havasu Creek and the Colorado River. The NPS used a short haul rescue technique to move group members, one at a time, from the ledge to the shore of the Colorado River where they could be picked up by helicopter and flown to Hualapai Hilltop. From there, the group was transported by bus to a Red Cross shelter in Peach Springs, Arizona.
To ensure the safety of park visitors, NPS river rangers have been contacting groups who are still upriver from the confluence of Havasu Creek and the Colorado River to inform them of the conditions at the confluence.
Commercial river operators carry satellite phones which have been working well throughout this event and aerial checks of the Colorado River have occurred. No other reports of difficulties due to these flood conditions have been received within the park. Additionally, no park roads or facilities received damage; and all park facilities are open and fully operational at this time.
For information on continuing efforts to aid those affected by the flood within Havasu Canyon and Supai Village, please contact the Incident Information Center at 928-679-4161. If you are checking on family members with permits to float the river or backpack in the backcountry of Grand Canyon National Park, please contact Grand Canyon’s river information line at 928-638-7884.
Click on the play button below to see video of the event:
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