2002 River Incident Update

December 2002. The primary river season for the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park has drawn to a close. Below is a list of reported river incidents.

Non-commercial river runners reported 9 incidents; six incidents required helicopter evacuation. Three were on-the-water boating accidents, one was an in-camp accident, and two were the result of dehydration.

The remaining three incidents were a flash flood in Havasu Canyon that caused minor trauma to 2 individuals who stayed on the river, a runaway from a trip in which poor group dynamics was reported, and a rock slide which caused property damage only.

There were 41 commercial concessionaire river incidents, thirty of which required NPS evacuations. Three were evacuated at the Whitmore Helipad to the Bar-10 Ranch, and went on to Las Vegas hospitals. There were eighteen medical incidents, twenty four trauma incidents, and five incidents categorized as "other". One person was checked by rescue personnel, and was found to be fine.

Also reported on commercial trips were a snakebite, five dehydration incidents (a decline from last year), five day hike injuries, four boat accidents, an in-camp accident, and two people who were injured when they jumped off a boat. There was one river guide fatality. One incident involved a bone that had been collected by a guide and stored for 1 month in an ammo can. A commercial passenger (a doctor) thought the bone to be human and gave it to the trip leader, who turned it into NPS rangers.

The 41 commercial concessionaire river incidents reflect an overall increase from the annual average of 34 incidents.

In addition to incidents handled by GCNP, there were 5 calls for assistance by hikers or non-commercial boaters that were handled by concession crews.