Man Dies Hiking Grand Canyon, Second Death In Less Than A Week

(Photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images)

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Harry Wilmerding Contributor
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An Illinois man died Tuesday while hiking the Grand Canyon, the National Park Service announced in a press release. 

William Smith, 60, of Oswego, collapsed after completing the Ooh Ahh Point hike, just a half-mile below the South Kaibab Trailhead, National Park Service said in a press release.

Smith received CPR from a bystander before NPS staff arrived at the scene, according to the press release. All attempts to revive Smith were unsuccessful, NPS said. 

The incident is still under investigation by park officials and the Coconino County medical examiner, the press release said.

Tuesday’s temperature saw a high of 85 degrees Fahrenheit, Grand Canyon National Park spokeswoman Joelle Baird told the New York Post

“It was warm, but were not in an excessive heat warning like we had in the past couple weeks,” Baird told the Post. (RELATED: Heat Wave Worsens Across Western US As States See Triple Digit Temperature)

“It’s hard to tell” if temperature played a role in the fatality, Baird said. 

“The South Kaibab Trail offers wonderful views all along the trails, making it very easy to lose track of how far down you have hiked,” Baird said. 

The trail, which has an elevation of over 7200 feet, is steep and offers rugged terrain, Baird said. 

Smith is the second fatality at the Grand Canyon since Sunday. 

Michelle Meder, 53, of Hudson, Ohio, died from a heat-related illness as temperatures tied a record high of 115 degrees Fahrenheit, according to an NPS press release

Meder was backpacking with friends on Saturday when she became disoriented and fell unconscious, the press release says. 

Park officials found Meder dead on Sunday, the press release says. 

Between 15-20 people die on average in the Grand Canyon National Park, Baird told the Post. 

The park has already seen 9 fatalities this year, Baird said.  


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