Grand Canyon National Park Reports Fatality on Colorado River

by Amy Myers

On Saturday, Grand Canyon National Park received a distress call regarding a fallen passenger during a commercial Colorado River trip. Today, the park has confirmed that, tragically, the incident ended with a fatality.

At roughly 2:00 p.m. on June 11, a witness reported the accident to the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center. According to the park’s official release, present commercial guides were able to reach the fallen woman by boat. Once they pulled her on board, they began administering CPR and life-saving measures.

Shortly after, the National Park Service’s Search and Rescue team arrived via helicopter to the site near Pipe Creek Beach. Once there, they “assisted with resuscitation efforts.”

However, their attempts to revive the woman were, sadly, unsuccessful.

After alerting the woman’s next of kin, the national park released the woman’s identity: 47-year-old Sheetal Patel from Chatanooga, Tennessee.

According to the park, “Patel was cooling off along Pipe Creek Beach” when she fell victim to a strong current.

“Patel hiked into the canyon to meet the river trip at Phantom Ranch, and was beginning a multi-day boating trip,” the report stated.

Grand Canyon National Park Reminds Visitors to Follow Safety Precautions Will on Rim and Near Colorado River

Currently, Grand Canyon National Park officials are teaming up with the Coconino County Medical Examiner to conduct an investigation regarding Patel’s death.

In the meantime, the park posted some safety tips for hikers and paddlers.

“Before heading down trail, hikers are strongly encouraged to read the Hiking Tips page and check the Backcountry Updates and Closures page for current information on inner canyon conditions,” the park advised. “All visitors to Grand Canyon should ensure they are drinking plenty of fluids, resting in shade during the heat of the day, watching for signs of distress in traveling companions, and dressing appropriately for the weather, which includes light-colored and loose-fitting clothing. The NPS does not recommend hiking from the rim to the river and back in one day.”

This is a developing story.