According to a March 18 report from The Associated Press, as carried on MSN News, “John N. Anderson, 53, of Grapevine, Texas, died Saturday after falling about 350 feet from the South Rim near El Tovar Lodge, park officials said… Wright said authorities believe Anderson was trying to retrieve something, possibly a hat, when he fell over the edge.”
Anderson, who is married with two sons and a daughter, was visiting the park with his family when he fell. He was located by park rangers, but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram says Anderson was alone on a rocky outcrop when he fell.
“He wasn't trying to shoot a photograph or anything like that,” Anderson’s sister-in-law Suzy Naughalty said. “It was just a freakish accident.”
Kirby-Lynn Shedlowski, a National Park Service spokesperson, said they have yet to determine exactly what happened.
“We still don’t know exactly what happened. Apparently, people heard him fall and reported it,” Shedlowski said.
The Grand Canyon attracts nearly 5 million visitors annually. Park rangers respond to an average of 1,300 incidents, most of them being hikers suffering from heat exhaustion. Approximately 300 search and rescue missions are required each year as well, according to park statistics.
In 2012, there were 12 park fatalities. Lat year’s stats were not available.
Shedlowski said, “Some years, we’ll have quite a few deaths, but then there will be other years when we don’t have many.”