California man dies on visit to Grand Canyon, cause unknown

Reuters News
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Posted: May 26, 2015 7:35 PM

By David Schwartz

PHOENIX (Reuters) - An 82-year-old California man has died of undetermined causes while visiting the Grand Canyon National Park during the busy Memorial Day weekend, a park official said on Tuesday.

Khushalbai Patel of Pleasanton was visiting the park with family when he was found unconscious on Sunday near the visitor center at the park’s popular South Rim, spokeswoman Emily Davis said.

Park rangers and paramedics were sent to the area at about 12:10 p.m. local time by a bystander who made an emergency 911 call to the canyon’s regional communications center.

Efforts to resuscitate the man were unsuccessful and Patel was pronounced dead at the scene, Davis said. An investigation into the death is being conducted by the National Park Service and the Coconino County Medical Examiner.

“It caused a slight commotion,” Davis said.

The incident marks the fourth confirmed death at the park this year. On May 5, a 25-year-old Florida man was believed to have committed suicide, plunging some 250 feet to his death from the South Rim, east of Mather Point.

The crimson-hued canyon is one of the world’s most frequented outdoor tourist venues, attracting more than 4.7 million visitors in 2014.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Walsh)