Crews search for hikers swept away in Grand Canyon creek

Family members say Merrell's wife Lou-Ann Merrell and her stepgrandson Jackson Standefer were the two hikers swept away while crossing a remote creek in Grand Canyon National Park.

He said the 14-year-old boy and 62-year-old woman were swept away Saturday in a tributary of the Colorado River.

The North Rim, an area visited only by 10 percent of Grand Canyon visitors, has rapidly changing weather and visitors should be prepared for heat, cold, rain, wind or snow, the park service says.

The search includes three ground teams consisting of about 20 people total, a National Park Service helicopter, a drone and an inflatable motor raft that was flown into the canyon.

Her husband and son, Ivan, were also on the trip, said Jake Phillips, a friend and relative of Lou-Ann Merrell.

The uncle of the missing teen from Tennessee told The Associated Press that the boy, his mother and his stepgrandparents were crossing a water trail Saturday evening when he and his stepgrandmother fell in and were swept away by the water.

The National Park Service said some searchers will stay in the field overnight, but depending on conditions, may not actively search overnight. He was last seen wearing black Nike shorts and a long-sleeved white Columbia T-shirt and navy blue sandals.

Van Dzura says hiking and backpacking at the Grand Canyon aren't easy, but incidents like these are rare.

The entire McCallie community sends its prayers to the Standefer family and all those close to Jackson as we all hope for a positive ending to this situation. "We are grateful to the people working around the clock and continue to be hopeful", said Jim Zwiers, executive vice president.

Rescue workers are still searching for two hikers who went missing late Saturday. She was last seen wearing khaki zip-off shorts, a blue/green button down short sleeve shirt, and blue water shoes. That is one of two main areas where hikers headed for the Colorado River can cross the creek.

One of those missing is McCallie student Jackson Standefer.

The two were "last seen crossing Tapeats Creek below the confluence with Thunder River when they lost footing and were swept down Tapeats Creek", the National Park Service said in a statement on Sunday. She was also carrying a handmade backpack with hiking poles attached. In addition, backcountry hiking grounds river rafters have been alerted and asked to keep their eyes open. He said his first trip through the canyon was at Tapeats Creek. Vandzura described the area as being a twenty-minute helicopter flight from the south rim visitors center.

NPS crews are searching for the hikers.

  • Larry Hoffman