On Day 5 of River Trip, Tragedy Strikes

Motorboat flipped in rapids of Colorado River at Grand Canyon
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2022 1:28 AM CDT
One Killed When Motorboat Flips at Grand Canyon
This 2019 file photo provided by the National Park Service shows the Hance Rapid located where Red Canyon intersects with the Colorado River at River Mile 77.   (Carl Bowman/National Park Service via AP, File)

A 67-year-old man was killed and four other people injured Saturday afternoon when a motorboat flipped on the Colorado River inside Grand Canyon National Park. At Bedrock Rapid, a rocky island splitting the river into two channels, the boat hit a rock and flipped, 12 News reports. The boat was on day five of a trip arranged by Western River Expeditions, and some passengers opted not to continue it after the tragedy. The dead man was identified as Ronald Vanderlugt.

Other members of the expedition pulled Vanderlugt out of the water, unresponsive, and started CPR, but he could not be resuscitated, ABC 15 reports. Park rangers arrived via helicopter and four other people with non-critical injuries were flown to the South Rim. The National Park Service and the Coconino County Medical Examiner will investigate the incident. USA Today reports that the area where Vanderlugt died is known to be "consequential and unforgiving."

This is the third death at the Grand Canyon in recent weeks. A hiker fell 200 feet to his death off a ledge in the park at the end of last month, and another hiker died after she got disoriented and went unconscious while on a backpacking trip on a day it was "well over" 100 degrees. (Read more Grand Canyon stories.)

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