Crews search for hikers swept away in Grand Canyon creek


McOmie revealed the searchers have located the backpacks the two missing hikers had when they were swept away by the water.

A 14-year-old McCallie School student is still missing along with his step-grandmother, Lou-Ann Merrell, after being swept down a creek at the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

The helicopter picked up the other two hikers and crews started searching the area from the air.

While that means the pair won't have any food or supplies, search teams say there were indications that they had been able to take their backpacks off after they fell into the river. On Saturday, April 15, 2017, Standefer, 14, and his step-grandmother, Lou-Ann Merrell, were swept down a remote creek in Grand Canyon National Park in Grand Canyon National Park.

McOmie said late Tuesday night that relatives hope Merrell and the boy will be found soon.

Tapeats Creek, where Lou-Ann Merrell and Jackson Standefer, 14, lost their footing during a family trip, is not particularly hard to hike for experienced backpackers, said Chris Forsyth, president of the Grand Canyon Hikers & Backpackers Association board.

Search crews scoured the remote section of the Grand Canyon National Park with boats, helicopters, and drones Tuesday. "But given their skills and knowledge of the area, that will probably lead to the best possible outcome".

Ms. Merrell is the wife of Randy Merrell, who helped found the Merrell Boot Company in 1981.

"Park Service personnel said the step-grandmother was described as being 5'5", 145 pounds with blonde hair and green eyes.

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Officials were alerted when an emergency Global Positioning System locator beacon was set off below the canyon's North Rim, said Chief Ranger Matt Vandzura of the National Park Service. Chief Ranger Matt Vandzura says the two lost their footing Saturday.

Randy Merrell and the boy's mother were hiking with them when they disappeared.

McOmie told the AP that the Merrells were avid hikers that know the area well.

Brook Sevenski, who worked with Merrell on ambulances as a volunteer emergency medical technician, said she looked forward to wilderness lessons Lou-Ann Merrell would give to fellow EMT's. It also is not known whether the water level in the Tapeats Creek was higher than normal at the time.

Creeks in the canyon often see higher water levels in the spring as snow melts. But heavy water flowing through the creek can make it challenging, he said.

'The entire McCallie community sends its prayers to the Standefer family and all those close to Jackson as we all hope for a positive ending to this situation, ' the school said in a statement.

Zwiers also said in the written statement that the company was grateful to the searchers and that he continues to be hopeful.

The group was on a different path known as Tapeats Trail, authorities said.

He says rescue efforts increased on Monday with additional ground workers, air missions and a drone.