Last summer, a group of commercial passengers (and their guides) saw firsthand a dose of how powerful Mother Nature can be, surviving a storm-induced landslide that careened into their camp, killing one and injuring several others on day three of a scheduled eight-day trip down the Big Ditch. The incident resulted in “the largest evacuation in Grand Canyon history,” rescuing 31 people from the trip by helicopter.
While several news reports have been written about the accident, none are more harrowing, or truthful about what actually transpired, than the below account posted on FaceBook by Randolph Harris, one of the passengers on the trip, there with his 35-year-old daughter.
At the time of the deluge, the group was camped about 150 feet upstream from a normally dry rim drainage.
From the post: “Miraculously, 31 of us survived and were evacuated from the Grand Canyon by helicopter on 7/15/21.Day 3 of our 8-day trip. This was the largest evacuation in Grand Canyon history. Sadly, one young woman, Rebecca, did not survive. Others were seriously injured, including one of the guide-heroes, Kristen O’Niell. She was very seriously injured while evacuating us.”
“This was not just a flash flood. It was a torrent of rain, hail and wind which caused a mud and rockslide. It would have killed us all, if not for our guides.”
Read on to learn more about the tragedy, including how it happened and how the guides handled it, in what Harris said was a move that “saved all of our lives.”
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