Page last updated at 17:58 GMT, Monday, 18 August 2008 18:58 UK

Grand Canyon rescue as dam bursts


Pictures of the dam burst rescue, courtesy of 'KTVK'

US rescue crews have airlifted some 170 people to safety from a remote village in the Grand Canyon after a dam burst following days of heavy rain.

Grand Canyon National Park spokeswoman Maureen Oltrogge said water from the Redlands Dam had caused flooding in a side canyon containing Supai village.

The area, accessible only by foot, on horseback or by air, is home to 400 members of the Havasupai tribe.

Most people have been accounted for but searches will resume later on Monday.


The Redlands dam is on Havasu Creek. The creek feeds the Colorado River, which runs through the Grand Canyon.

Satellite image showing Grand Canyon and Supai

After the dam burst, people were flown out of the Supai area and then taken on buses to Peach Springs, about 60 miles (96km) south-west of Supai.

"We were basically stuck up the canyon without our rafts," Cedar Hemmings, who was among those flown out, told the Associated Press.

"We had no supplies, no food and very little water, we lost everything."

About 16 people in a private boating party were among those who had to be rescued after becoming stranded on a ledge on the Colorado river when their rafts were swept away by flood water.

Some hiking trails and footbridges have been washed away and trees uprooted, although no damage or injuries were reported in Supai itself which is on high ground.

Many campers and residents had chosen to stay there.

"We're not as concerned about it as we initially were," Gerry Blair, spokesman for the Coconino County Sheriff's Department, told AP.

But a flash flood warning remained in effect with more rain forecast.

The BBC's Rajesh Mirchandani in Los Angeles says although more than four million visitors go to the Grand Canyon each year access to the lower areas is well regulated.

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