Crashing in the Canyon

Meghan Tuzzolino, Columnist

The Grand Canyon is one of the world’s most beautiful and popular tourist locations. However, looks can be deceiving. About 4.5 million people visit the Grand Canyon each year, and an average of 12 people die there annually, according to park statistics. The deaths can be attributed to anything from natural causes, medical issues, suicide, heat, drowning, and traffic crashes, states CBN. A recent fatal helicopter crash has been the opposite of a step in the right direction for improving safety in the canyon. This crash left three tourists dead and four listed in critical and life threatening condition.
According to Hualapai Nation Police Chief Francis Bradley, windy conditions, darkness, and the rugged terrain made it difficult to reach the helicopter wreckage. Rescue crews had to fly in, walk to the crash site, and use night vision goggles to find their way around, states Fox News. The reason behind the crash, however, has not been discovered or disclosed to the public, although the unpredictable weather is thought to have played into it. The only travel restriction is lightning, but many other weather conditions are susceptible to causing a crash, according to CNN. After the crash, the four survivors were rushed to the hospital as Level 1 trauma patients with third degree burns, the Associated Press reported, meaning they had life-threatening injuries, although specific updates on their condition have not been released yet. It took nearly eight hours for search and rescue teams to find the victims due to the rocky terrain, which made it extremely difficult to find the victims and evacuate them as soon as possible.

Scenarios like this could happen to anyone, so it’s always important to be ready for an unpredictable situation like this. So, keeping extra water, a way to call 911, and a first aid kit on hand and easy to reach are all necessities for any adventure into the wilderness. When planning a tour such as this, also try to avoid weather conditions such as wind, hail, and especially dust storms; this is because of the current of the wind, which can easily throw the helicopter of track making it crash into a side of the canyon, the Colorado River, or something else. However, if a crash still happens, and even if you have the supplies for a situation like this, it is still important to stay calm when something an emergency happens. The few survivors of this crash explained that they knew that they needed to stay calm, and it ultimately saved their lives, according to Fox News. This means that the best way to handle a unpredictable scenario is to stay calm, help yourself before others, and use an object to signal search and rescue, such as waving a shirt, yelling as loud as possible, or even whistling.

This helicopter crash emphasizes the importance to be cautious so that we can avoid deaths like this in the future. You can’t necessarily stop a helicopter from crashing, but you can do your best to make sure everyone survives the impact.