Five tourists are rescued 26 HOURS after getting stuck 21 stories underground at Grand Canyon Cavern after elevator malfunctioned (but they do get to enjoy $1,000-a-night hotel suite!)
- Five people have been rescued from the tourist attraction after a malfunction with the elevator
- The guests were made comfortable in a $1,000 a night suites at a hotel at the Grand Canyon Caverns’
- Some of those stuck were in their 70s and were unable to walk safely up the old fire escape
- The family went into the cave just before noon on Sunday and were stuck in the caves for more than 26 hours
Five people have been rescued 26 hours after they were left stranded 21 stories underground at the Grand Canyon Caverns’ tourist attraction.
The elevator reportedly malfunctioned Sunday evening, according to authorities on Monday night in Peach Springs, Arizona.
Coconino Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the visitors were not confined to an elevator car, and were allowed to enjoy the $1,000-a-night suites.
A search and rescue team were able to hoist those who needed help up without using a basket apparatus after trying to fix the elevator.
All of the five tourists were hoisted up to the surface around 8pm, with Sherry Jimenez being pulled up nearly 30 hours after she went in.
She told ABC: I’ can’t say thank you enough because they did everything so professionally, so safe’.
Each rescue is estimated to have taken around 25 minutes to complete, with relatives of those who were stuck saying some were unable to walk up the stairs.
Coconino Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the visitors were not confined to an elevator car, and have since been rescued after 26 hours
Five people have been rescued 26 hours after they were left stranded 21 stories underground at the Grand Canyon Caverns’ tourist attraction
It is not clear exactly how long it will take to repair the elevator, with a lift used by the fire department rescue crews being considered
The family claim that they went into the cave around noon for a 30-minute tour when they became trapped.
Spokesman for Coconino County Jon Paxton said that the guests are unable to get escape the caverns because the stairway system is similar to an old external fire escape and there are concerns about safety.
Of the five people trapped, two were in their 70s and the group was unable to walk safely up more than 20 stories of the staircase.
One of the members would have been able to make the trip, but chose to stay with their elderly relatives.
Before going on the tour they made sure that it was handicap accessible, with one woman saying she was ‘super frustrated’.
Felicia said: ‘It’s 2022, almost 2023, and I think handicap accessible should definitely be advanced by now. You have nothing for somebody in a wheelchair to get out.’
She added that she was stuck for about 10 hours with ehr five-month-old and two-year-old daughter and was able to climb out by holding onto the railing.
The Peach Springs Fire Department helped her with both of her children.
Before going on the tour they made sure that it was handicap accessible, with one woman saying she was ‘super frustrated’
Each suite lists for $1,000 a night for two and attempts to fix the elevator on Monday by hooking it up to an external generator were unsuccessful
The caverns have a six-person hotel suite and food service, with the guests being put up for the night by the hotel
Workers have been able to use the fire escape stairs, but elderly guests had to wait to be hoisted up by emergency services as they were unable to go up the stairs
The Grand Canyon Caverns are a popular tourist attraction that allows people to dine 21 stories underground inside of a cave.
According to the family, they did get food, but that their first meal was after waiting several hours and are considering legal action.
No injuries were reported while they were in the caverns, which have a six-person hotel suite and food service, with the guests being put up for the night by the hotel.
The natural limestone caverns, said to be the largest dry caverns in the U.S., occupy a desert region southwest of Grand Canyon National Park about 110 miles from the California border.
The caverns are said to have been created by natural forces 65 million years ago. Facilities at the site, part of historic Route 66, are privately operated.