Tourists stranded 200 feet below ground when elevator malfunctions at Grand Canyon Caverns

ByAmy Simonson and Rebekah Riess, CNN, CNNWire
Tuesday, October 25, 2022
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Six tourists were rescued after an elevator malfunctioned about 200 feet underground at the Grand Canyon Caverns in Arizona Tuesday.

The tourists who had become stuck about 200 feet underground at the Grand Canyon Caverns in Peach Springs, Arizona, on Sunday when an elevator malfunctioned have all been brought back to the surface with the help of local fire departments.

According to Seligman Fire Chief Gary Bennett, six people had become stranded at the tourist site after an elevator stopped working around noon on Sunday, including a family of four with two young children, and a second couple.

Firefighters with the Seligman Fire District were able to help the family of four up the approximately 21 flights of stairs to the surface between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. on Sunday evening.

According to Bennett, the husband of the second couple was also able to take the stairs to the surface, but decided to return to the cavern to stay with his wife at the motel suite located at the bottom of the caverns on Sunday night until the elevator became operational again.

That couple took the elevator back to the surface on Monday.

The Seligman Fire District was assisted in the operation by the Ash Fork Fire Department and the Peach Springs Fire Department.

Officials originally said that five people were stranded in the caverns.

"Yesterday five folks were exiting the caverns when the elevator stopped working. Believing it was an electrical problem, a generator was brought in. It's not an electrical problem. It's a mechanical problem," Jon Paxton, a spokesperson for the Coconino County Sheriff's Office, told CNN on Monday.

CNN reached out to The Grand Canyon Caverns for additional details.

The Grand Canyon Caverns is a tourist attraction that allows visitors to tour inside an ancient underground cave, dine and stay in a motel, according to its website.