Sheetal Patel dies from drowning in Colorado River at Grand Canyon National Park

View looking east and up the Colorado River from Pipe Creek Beach. Photo NPS file photo/M. Quinn.

Sheetal Patel, 47, originally from Chicago, Illinois, and most recently from Chattanooga, Tenn., who was vacationing at the Grand Canyon National Park, died June 11, 2022, after she fell into the Colorado River.

A June 13, 2022, press release from the Grand Canyon National Park said, “On June 11, at approximately 2:00 p.m., the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center received a report of a passenger on a commercial river trip who had fallen into the Colorado River. Commercial guides were able to reach the woman by boat. The commercial guides pulled her from the river and began CPR.”

Patel was cooling off along Pipe Creek Beach, when she was caught by the current in the Colorado River, the press release said. Patel hiked into the canyon to meet the river trip at Phantom Ranch, and was beginning a multi-day boating trip, according to Grand Canyon National Park.

An investigation into the incident is being conducted by the National Park Service in coordination with the Coconino County Medical Examiner, the press release said.

However, the Park included the following warning in its press release: “Before heading down trail, hikers are strongly encouraged to read the Hiking Tips page and check the Backcountry Updates and Closures page for current information on inner canyon conditions,” adding other cautions such as hydrating, resting in shade, and watching for signs of distress.



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