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Weekend Accident Kills One, Injures Four

Canyon De Chelly National Monument

National Park News

On Sunday, May 27th, an accident involving a motorized truck tour left one man dead and seriously injured four others at Canyon de Chelly National Monument near Chinle, Az. Richard Crowe, 60, a resident of Hawaii, died in the accident which occurred shortly after noon in the upper Del Muerto Canyon section of the national monument. He was among 13 passengers and a driver aboard a tour truck when the vehicle left the road and rolled down an embankment. Four other people were airlifted to Flagstaff and San Juan Hospitals. The remaining passengers were treated locally and released. The tour truck belonged to Thunderbird Lodge, an independent concessions operation at the park. The accident site is in a remote section of the park about 16 miles into the backcountry, and emergency communications were limited. National Park Service staff, Navajo police, the Apache County sheriff, Indian Health Service, and search and rescue from Chinle, Ganado, and Kayenta responded to the accident. Five helicopters and six ambulances were dispatched to the scene. The tour truck involved in the accident is a Korean War-vintage, 6-wheel drive truck with an open rear seating area. The Apache County Sheriff Office is leading the investigation. NPS rangers and the Navajo police are assisting with the accident investigation, which is currently ongoing. While the accident is being investigated, the upper portion of Del Muerto Canyon in Canyon de Chelly National Monument remains closed to tour companies above Twin Trails. The NPS has also suspended all Thunderbird Lodge motorized tour operations pending safety inspections of the concessioner’s vehicles.


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