One person who had taken a rafting trip on the Colorado River was found dead on Thursday in the river’s icy waters, and a second person was found alive after the flash flood, according to a spokeswoman for Grand Canyon Park. .
The flood was part of a monsoon storm that flooded Arizona this week. In Flagstaff, the city streets were muddy from the passage of water mixed with logs and debris.
According to Grand Canyon spokeswoman Joel Baird, torrent water ran through canyons and washed away the camps.
Authorities initially believed the two had been dragged by the river and began searching through the air, soil and water to find them. Baird said one left the camp in search of a safer place to sleep. The other was found dead in the water near the flooded camp, she said.
The Arizona Raft Adventures motorized tour was scheduled to last more than a week.
A park helicopter took two paramedics to the river on Wednesday night to treat and stabilize the injured kayakers after receiving a satellite call from someone on a trip for help. The seven injured passengers were airlifted from the canyon, Baird said. She was unsure of the extent of the wound.
According to Baird, the park will help other kayakers who want to shorten their trip out of the river, she said.
The floods hit fields located about 40 miles (64 km) downriver from where the ferry launched at Lees Ferry near the Arizona-Utah border, muddying rivers that are usually greenish in color.
Meteorologists issued a flood warning for the area on Wednesday, but it is unclear whether rafting guides were aware of this.
According to the National Weather Service, the radar showed about an inch of rain in this area of the Colorado River.
Park officials did not immediately release the name of the dead rafter. At least two other people have died this year on Grand Canyon rafting trips that draw tens of thousands of tourists, residents and researchers annually.
James Crocker, 63, of Colorado died after falling into the river in the middle of a rapid in June. His group members pulled him out of the water but failed to revive him.
Deborah Ellis, 60, of Idaho died after the commercial ferry she was on hit rapids and capsized in late April. An autopsy report released to the Associated Press in response to a request for public records determined that she had drowned.
The entire southwest, which is desperate for rain after two years of bleak monsoons, has recently been ravaged by storms. More rains are planned.
In Tucson, the fire department rescued a father and his two daughters from the roof of their vehicle on Wednesday after they drove to a car wash and were trapped in floodwaters, said Golder Ranch Fire District spokesman, captain Adam Jarrold.
“Our message, especially here in the desert, wait patiently,” he said. “Water rises quickly, but disappears quickly.”
Floods further north of Flagstaff flooded the community and adjacent areas behind the burning mountains in 2019, leaving at least one vehicle floating on city streets. Residents had some sandbags around their houses and some of the concrete barriers to divert the water were prepared for the flood. Still, many of them are going deeper.
According to a press release, Flagstaff and Coconino County declared a state of emergency in the monsoon flood, released funds and allowed authorities to request state assistance.