Shortly before 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 10, a 71-year-old man was attempting to take a picture of a sign at Grand View at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone when he stumbled backwards over a stone barrier and into the canyon. After falling approximately 25 feet, he was able to stop himself at the top of a precipice by bracing his body and feet on opposing sides of a small crevice. A visitor that witnessed the man’s fall ran to a nearby parking lot to call 911.
The first two rangers on scene threw looped rope down to the man and secured him to a sign and tree at the top of the canyon. National Park Service employees and members of the Yellowstone Technical Rescue Team responded to the scene and set up a system of ropes and pulleys to carry out the rescue. One harnessed member of the Technical Rescue Team descended to the man’s location and secured him into the pulley system. The man was then able to walk to safety with assistance from the ropes, pulleys, and ranger.
According to staff on scene, the man was extremely lucky. The crevice and the angle of his body during the fall helped the man stop at the top of a 200 foot drop. A fall just inches to the left may have resulted in a fatality as the canyon wall is mostly steep loose rock.
The man was transported by ground ambulance to a helicopter ambulance for a possible hip injury. Seventeen Park Service staff assisted with this rescue.