By Brad Fuqua
Grand Canyon News Editor
GRANDEUR POINT — An 18-year-old California woman was killed early last week after falling approximately 360 feet below the rim at Grandeur Point.
Rangers received a call at 6:45 p.m. last Tuesday from visitors who suspected a woman, later identified as Sandra Marie Elizondo of Ontario, Calif., had fallen into the Canyon.
This spot west of Grandeur Point was where an 18-year-old woman fell to her death on Tuesday evening of last week. The area is along the Rim Trail on the Grand Canyon’s South Rim between Yavapai Point and NPS headquarters.
The reporting party told rangers that they had noticed the woman standing along the rim west of Grandeur Point, which is located west of Yavapai Point. While passing by, they noticed a unique item she was wearing.
Upon their return about 15 minutes later, the reporting party said they observed that same unique item along the edge of the rim, along with another personal item.
At just after 7 p.m., a hasty search commenced and continued until midnight when it was suspended. The following morning, National Park Service helicopter 210 conducted an aerial search of the area, beginning at 9 a.m. Shortly thereafter, what was believed to be a body was discovered.
A short-haul operation was then ordered and a recovery team was inserted onto the site. Rangers positively identified the body of a young woman and they documented the scene.
The weather Wednesday morning was nearly perfect with clear skies and calm winds. A rope of approximately 100 feet in length was needed for the short-haul operation. The copter, after making another run to Phantom Ranch, performed the task late in the morning.
The body was located along a steep wall. The body was taken to the NPS helibase.
The woman's body was transferred to the Coconino County Medical Examiner's Office by mid-afternoon Wednesday. The incident is being investigated by the National Park Service and the Coconino County Sheriff's Department, as is routine with any fatality.
The victim's identity was no immediately known. Law-enforcement officials needed to refer to dental records for identification.