National Park Service/AP

Hundreds Evacuated in Grand Canyon Flooding

August 18, 2008 03:20 PM
by Lindsey Chapman
Rescue officials have plucked dozens of campers and residents from the Grand Canyon after days of rain created flooding problems.

Flooding in the Grand Canyon

Severe flooding in the Grand Canyon caught dozens of campers by surprise and broke the Redlands Earthen Dam, which is 45 miles upstream of the Hualapai village.

Gerry Blair, a spokesman for the Coconino County, Ariz., Sheriff’s Department, said it wasn’t a “huge, significant” structure, and the break was only part of the flooding problem.

Officials from the Havasupai Tribe, who live in a side canyon of the Grand Canyon, say water levels in Havasu Creek began rising before the Redlands Dam broke. An unknown number of bridges have been washed away in the floods.

Five helicopters were used to lift dozens of campers and residents to safety. The water “was rushing and raging,” reported Emily Gerlick, a camper who was flown out of the area. “It sounded like a freight train.” Some campers became stranded after seeking higher ground when the water came.

Authorities halted rescue efforts on Sunday night because of darkness. People affected by the flood were on high enough ground to be safe for a while, Blair said.

According to The Arizona Republic, no injuries had been reported as of late Sunday night.

Related Topic: Other significant evacuations

Reference: Home Protection; National Parks


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