Grand Canyon tourist falls 1,000 feet to his death while taking photos

/ CBS/AP

Grand Canyon tourist dies taking photos

Grand Canyon West, Arizona. – Two people have died at the Grand Canyon in separate incidents this week. Officials said in the latest incident, a man stumbled over the edge of the rim while trying to take pictures.

A helicopter lifted the body of the Hong Kong man from 1,000 feet below the rim of the Eagle Point observation area Thursday afternoon at Grand Canyon West. The site is a popular tourist destination on the Hualapai reservation outside the boundaries of the national park, spokesman David Leibowitz said. The man's identity has not been released.

Grand Canyon Fall
This 2007 file photo shows Skywalk hanging over the Grand Canyon. Ross D. Franklin / AP

When the fall happened Thursday, there were few visitors at Eagle Point, a remote site best known for the Skywalk, a horse-shoe shaped glass bridge that juts out from the canyon wall, Leibowitz said. The rim has some ledges and outcroppings below but no barrier between tourists and the edge.

The man, who was in his 50s, was taking photos when he stumbled and fell, Leibowitz said. Signs at Eagle Point warn tourists not to get too close to the edge. Leibowitz also stressed to CBS News that the man didn't fall from the Skywalk.

The area closed for the day after the incident, Leibowitz said. He extended the tribe's prayers to the man's family.

The Hualapai reservation includes a roughly 100-mile stretch of the Grand Canyon at its western edge.

Meanwhile, authorities at Grand Canyon National Park — about 95 miles east — were working to identify a person believed to be a foreign national. A body was found Tuesday evening in a wooded area south of Grand Canyon Village away from the rim, the park said.

The person's relatives haven't been notified, and the cause of death is unclear, park spokeswoman Vanessa Ceja-Cervantes said. The National Park Service and the local medical examiner's office are investigating.

Last fall, a travel-blogging couple fell 800 feet to their deaths at Yosemite National Park. A photographer spotted them moments earlier at the edge of a cliff.

A study found in a 7-year period, 259 people worldwide died while taking selfies. More than 70 percent were men, who researchers said took more risks to get a dramatic shot.

"We always say that the zoom button is your friend, make sure you use that if you want to get a good photo of the canyon,"

Tech giants have promoted a culture of selfies and social media is full of daring photos taken at great risk. The rugged 277-mile-long Grand Canyon makes safety rails impossible in many areas.

Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the U.S., drawing nearly 6.4 million visitors last year. Grand Canyon West gets about 1 million visitors annually.

First published on March 29, 2019 / 4:59 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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