Just after midnight on Thursday September 9th, 2004, Grand Canyon National Park dispatch received a report of a missing person on the Colorado River. The reporting party, a trip leader for Tour West, a commercial river company, told the dispatcher that one of his passengers was missing from the group's camp, and reported that another passenger had heard splashing and shouts for "help" coming from the river two hours previously.
The river crew took a boat out to assist, but were unable to locate anyone in distress. A check of the camp revealed that Paul Smith, 48, of Newcastle, Washington, was missing. NPS personnel responded at daylight by park helicopter. A helicopter search was begun and a dive team from Glen Canyon NRA searched a large eddy and the point where Smith had last been seen. The dive team was demobilized the following day after extensive searching. Search efforts are continuing, with daily reconnaissance flights 15 miles downriver from the point last seen.