34-Year-Old Woman on Boating Trip Dies After 20-Foot Fall at Grand Canyon

Margaret Osswald of Utah fell nearly 20 feet from a canyon days after she set out on a boating trip

Grand Canyon
Photo: Getty

A female hiker was found dead this weekend after she fell nearly two dozen feet during a visit to Grand Canyon National Park.

On Monday, the National Park Service was alerted to an unresponsive person near Ledges Camp along the Colorado River on the evening of April 4. Emergency personnel from the Arizona Department of Public Safety arrived to the site by helicopter and pronounced the 34-year-old hiker, Margaret Osswald, dead upon arrival.

Authorities say Osswald, originally from Salt Lake City, died from injuries she sustained from a 20-foot fall.

Osswald had intended to meet a river trip at Phantom Beach and was on day six of a private boating trip.

"An investigation into the incident is being conducted by the National Park Service and the Coconino County Medical Examiner," the Park Service said. "No further information is available at this time."

According to AZ Central, Ossald's death comes less than two weeks after a 68-year-old woman, Mary Kelley, died during a multi-day boating trip to the Colorado River. She had to be pulled from the water from members of her group, and she died a short time later.

Hundreds of deaths have occurred at the Grand Canyon over the decade leading up to 2019, according to Outside magazine.

In a previous interview with PEOPLE, Brandon Torres, the branch chief of Emergency Services at the Grand Canyon, said there are two things visitors should keep in mind before arriving: preparation and coming to terms with their own physical limitations.

"Have in mind some of the activities that you might want to do, and if you're going to be hiking into the Grand Canyon, you really have to plan ahead," Torres told PEOPLE. "You have to have a fitness plan to get ready for hiking, especially if it's a summertime activity because it's super hot."

These high temperatures, Torres said, mixed with the elevation, can catch visitors off guard and make hikes much more strenuous than they may have anticipated.

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"It's all about decision making. What's your plan if things aren't going to plan? Well, maybe it's time to turn around and change the itinerary a little bit," Torres explained.

He added: "If your ankle is sprained, someone is hiking slower or someone has a headache, it's really time to redirect and say this isn't going as to plan. Be ready to adjust based on what's going on that reality of the day."

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