Searchers rescue family stranded in snow near Grand Canyon

Posted at 1:21 PM, Dec 24, 2016

Search crews have rescued a Pennsylvania family that got stranded Thursday on a snowy forest road in northern Arizona while trying to reach the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, which is closed for winter.

Searchers early Saturday morning located the mother who had walked approximately 26 miles in search of help before taking refuge in a seasonally closed Grand Canyon National Park guard shack, the Coconino County Sheriff's Office said.

Other searchers rescued the father and the couple's 10-year-old son Friday afternoon after they hiked to an area where they found cellphone service to call for help, the Coconino County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

Karen Klein was conscious and communicating when found but suffering from cold exposure, while Eric Klein and the couple's son also are being treated for cold exposure, including frostbite, the statement said.

The family's hometown wasn't immediately available, and personnel at Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George, Utah, where they were taken for treatment declined to put through a reporter's call. Hospital spokeswoman Terri Draper did not immediately return a call for comment.

The family had rented a car in Las Vegas, about 170 miles west of the national park's main facilities, and headed for the Grand Canyon's North Rim, where the Arizona Department of Transportation seasonally closes the access highway each winter due to snowfall.

Heeding directions of their vehicle's GPS system, the got stuck on a national forest road amid heavy snowfall, the sheriff's statement said.

The statement said Karen Klein, who was wearing a parka and knit cap, then set off on the foot for help. A Grand Canyon National Park spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and it was not immediately known whether there was anything in the closed guard shack that would have provided heat or other help.

After the father and son after they were able to make cellphone contact with authorities and call for help, a federal Bureau of Land Management ranger located them as multiple agencies in the region launched an air and ground search for the mother, the statement said.

Searchers on snowmobiles from Utah's Kane County Sheriff's Office found her at the park entrance after following her tracks on the forest road as Coconino County Sheriff's Office searchers on snow machines checked the closed highway.