Grand Canyon Visitors, Campers Remain Missing After Floods Burst Dam

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Helicopters resumed evacuating tourists and residents Monday from an area near the Grand Canyon where heavy rains and a breached dam have caused flooding.

Authorities on the ground and in the air also searched for fewer than 20 campers and tourists who remained unaccounted for, said Gerry Blair, a spokesman for the Coconino County Sheriff's Department. He said it's possible those people might have already left but authorities would assume they were still in the canyon until that could be determined.

There were no reports of injuries, and Blair said the situation was "certainly nowhere near as dangerous as it was yesterday."

About 170 people had been evacuated as of Sunday evening. Blair couldn't say how many had been brought out as of Monday morning or how many would be brought out in all.

"We anticipate we'll be able to get all of the tourists and campers out of there as well as any of the villagers who want to come out," Blair said.

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He said no one was being forced to leave the village of Supai, which is at the bottom of the canyon, but that authorities would evacuate people who want to get out. Many people stayed overnight in Supai, which is on high ground.

No more tourists were being allowed in, Blair said.

The area of northern Arizona got 3 to 6 inches of rain Friday and Saturday and about 2 inches (5 centimeters) more on Sunday, said Daryl Onton, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Flagstaff.

"That's all it took — just a few days of very heavy thunderstorms," Onton said.

Early Sunday, the Redlands Earthen Dam about 45 miles upstream from the Havasupai village of Supai was breached, park officials said. The small dam forms a pond to provide water for cattle and other livestock. It isn't a "huge, significant" structure and its rupture was only one factor in the flooding, said Blair.

Rescuers worked throughout Sunday to locate campers and Supai Village residents and evacuate them to the top of the canyon. About 400 members of the Native American Havasupai tribe live in the village.

Supai is about 75 miles west of Grand Canyon Village, the popular gateway to Grand Canyon National Park.

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