Home / National News / Crews search for 2 hikers swept away in Grand Canyon creek


(NEW YORK) — Investigators are continuing their search today for two missing hikers who were swept away in a Grand Canyon creek on Saturday.

Holding out hope for a successful rescue, officials said the pair are “equipped and have the knowledge to survive.”

Jackson Standefer, 14, and his step-grandmother Lou-Ann Merrell, 62, were hiking with friends and family when the two were swept away by fast-moving water while crossing a creek in a remote area of the Grand Canyon, according to the National Park Service.

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.

“This particular kind of incident is extremely rare,” Matt Vandzura the chief ranger at Grand Canyon National Park said. “That two people would be washed away in a creek crossing is something that is almost unheard of in our local memory of Grand Canyon incidents,” he added.

Merrell is the wife of Randy Merrell, the co-founder of the popular hiking boots company Merrell. Standefer, an eighth grader from Tennessee, was visiting the area with his family when the incident took place.

“They were well provisioned for a multi-day trip,” Vandzura said. “The both were reported to have food and water in their backpacks. We believe they are equipped and have the knowledge to survive.”

Mark McOmie, Jackson’s uncle, has posted on Facebook about the situation and the conditions as well as updates regarding rescue efforts.

McOmie told the AP that the Merrells were avid hikers that know the area well. “If they can get to a spot where they cannot be in the water and stay warm, she’s got the skills needed to get them through it. The odds aren’t great. But given their skills and knowledge of the area, that will probably lead to the best possible outcome.”

Authorities have sent out search and rescue teams as well as drones to survey the area for any articles that could belong to the missing pair.

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