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11 feared missing in Grand Canyon flood are safe: police

by Staff Writers
Phoenix, Arizona (AFP) Aug 19, 2008
Eleven hikers feared missing after flash flooding that deluged a remote Grand Canyon village on an Indian reservation have been located and are safe, police said Tuesday.

A spokesman for Coconino County Sheriff's Department told AFP that the individuals had been found and were accounted for.

"It's good news. Yesterday we believed there were 11 people unaccounted for. We are confident that those 11 people have been located, identified and are safe," spokesman Gerry Blair told AFP.

Rescuers from the US National Park Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs were continuing to comb the creek where a muddy, raging torrent caused by days of heavy rain swept through Havasu Canyon, Arizona on Sunday.

Blair said most visitors to Havasu Canyon were required to sign a register before setting off for hiking and camping trips in the area. Everyone who had signed in prior to the flood had now been accounted for, he said.

"It is possible of course that some people did not check in, so with that possibility in mind we are continuing to search the creek from the air," Blair said. "So far we haven't found anyone who appears to be stranded."

Rescuers would conduct more thorough foot searches of the canyon once water levels subsided, he added.

At least 250 campers and residents were evacuated from the Native American tribal town of Supai and the surrounding wilderness. No injuries or major damage to Supai have been reported.

Evacuees are being housed in a Red Cross shelter set up in the town of Peach Springs.

Among the evacuees from the flood zone were six boy scouts and three adult guides from the state of New Jersey who were left clinging to trees after the gentle stream they had camped beside was transformed into a raging river.

Kevin Muench, who was on the trip with his two sons aged 13 and 11, told ABC News that large rocks and trees were swept away by the flood.

"It was unbelievable," Muench said. "You'd see boulders four-foot in diameter being carried down the stream, and whole trees.

"We were literally in the trees saying 'Our Father,'" Muench said. "We did a lot of praying. The group was eventually airlifted to safety after clambering onto a rockface.

Supai is one of the most remote towns in the United States and is inaccessible by road. The only way into the town is by hiking over rugged wilderness or by air.

The town is the capital of the Havasupai Indian Reservation, which is home to the spectacular Havasu Falls, a prime tourist attraction.

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People unaccounted for after Grand Canyon flood: report
Los Angeles (AFP) Aug 18, 2008
An undisclosed number of people remain unaccounted for following a dam burst at the Grand Canyon that forced the evacuation of residents and tourists, local media reported Monday.

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