The most common cause of death in the canyon isn’t what you think
It’s not people falling over the edge, dehydration, or even heat exhaustion. It’s air crashes. Michael P. Ghiglieri, an ecology Ph.D., emergency medical tech, war vet, and co-author of Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon, cites that there have been 65 fatal crashes in the canyon, claiming 379 victims. The scary thing, nearly all of the crashes were commercial or private scenic flights. We’re already thinking twice about taking that scenic helicopter tour.
In fact, plane wreckage can still be found at the bottom
In 1956 two passenger airplanes collided in a mid-air collision over the Grand Canyon during some inclement weather conditions. Adventurous hikers have claimed that they have spotted the wreckage of the two commercial flights that collided in mid air over the eastern part of the canyon. But don’t get any ideas. The two-day hike is supposedly 18 miles, including a river crossing at the confluence. (Basically we’re saying don’t go unless you’re an experienced hiker.) We haven’t seen the decaying planes, but we’re sure that the crash site rivals some of the craziest abandoned places in Arizona.
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Lauren Topor is a Phoenix writer who’s now second-guessing that private heli tour of the Grand Canyon. Follow her to the rim and see if she goes through with it: @laurentopor.