On September 28 th , 2019, tragedy struck the Grand Canyon. A twenty-eight-year-old
man allegedly climbed over the safety barrier on the Grand Canyon Skywalk and
jumped to his death.
The tourist chose a spot on the Hualapai Indian Reservation and jumped around 4:30
Authorities have yet to identify the man or have any explanation why he chose to end
“In the aftermath of Saturday’s tragic suicide, our hearts are with everyone impacted:
The family of the man who took his own life, our guests and the Grand Canyon West
employees on duty Saturday,” spokesman David Leibowitz told USA TODAY on the
Sunday after the incident.
The Skywalk is a fairly new addition to the Grand Canyon, only opening in 2007. The
Skywalk is a horseshoe-shaped glass walkway. The structure brings visitors about
seventy feet out, overlooking the Canyon and the Colorado River. Below the Skywalk is
a vertical drop that ranges between five-hundred and eight-hundred feet.
According to Leibowitz, this horrific tragedy evoked a discussion about new policies and
more security. It is expected to prompt extensive Skywalk safety barriers, making the
area even safer than it is now. However, Leibowitz was quick to point out that the
Skywalk is safe. “…Nearly ten-million guests have visited Grand Canyon West since
2007 and this is the first such incident involving Skywalk in all that time,” Leibowitz said.
However, this is far from the only death that has occurred at the Grand Canyon, even in
recent years. A Grand Canyon National Park spokeswoman, Vanessa Ceja, told The
Arizona Republic that about twelve people die each year within the park.
Most of the guests who perish at the Grand Canyon have no intention of taking their life,
as police allege was the case with this unfortunate case. Many of the accidents that
take place in the park are due to falls, when tourists get too close to the edge. Other
causes of death are heat stroke, dehydration or drowning in the Colorado River.
The National Park Service does its best to keep tourists safe, though. Despite the
annual death toll, the Grand Canyon is not a dangerous place. If visitors follow the
advice of officials to, “Keep a safe distance if at least 6 feet from the edge of the rim,”
take precaution, and heed warning signs, they should be fine. Yet, sadly, year after
year, accidents continue to take place because people get too close, or completely