A group of first responders used a rope pulley system to hoist five stranded tourists more than 200 feet out of the Grand Canyon Caverns in Arizona after the elevator broke down on Sunday, according to the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office.
The tourists had taken the elevator down to the caverns on Sunday evening but got trapped and stayed the night in an underground hotel suite, which has two queen beds, a bathroom, a kitchenette, and a library.
Workers at the caverns attempted to fix the elevator on Monday morning, but first responders made the decision in the afternoon to attempt an improvised rescue.
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“Rescuers made access to the location of the stranded party via the emergency stairs and prepared them for the technical rope raising operation by securing them in a rescue harness and connecting the haul and belay ropes to the harness,” a spokesperson for the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said.
“The members of the stranded party were raised up the elevator shaft via the technical rope rescue mechanical advantage system one at a time.”
Each of the rescues took about 15 minutes and were completed nearly 24 hours after the tourists became stranded. None of them required treatment at the scene.
The rescue operation unfolded at Grand Canyon Caverns, the largest dry caverns in the United States located about 100 miles west of Flagstaff.
Grand Canyon Caverns did not respond to requests for comment.