July 14, 2005
Grand Canyon, Arizona - A 28-year old man collapsed and died on the
Bright Angel Trail yesterday at approximately 5:00 p.m. Avik Chakravarty
from England and a hiking companion started a rim to river to rim hike
yesterday at approximately 7:30 a.m. The two started their hike on the
South Kaibab Trail and had hiked to Phantom Ranch near the Colorado River.
At Phantom Ranch they talked with a National Park Service (NPS)
Interpretive Ranger and were advised not to begin their hike to the rim
until later in the evening due to the extreme temperatures. The temperature
at Phantom Ranch in the shade yesterday was reported to be 113 degrees.
Despite the advice the two hikers began hiking back to the South Rim on the
Bright Angel Trail by mid to late-afternoon yesterday. They were
approximately three miles north of Phantom Ranch in an area known as
Devilˇ¦s Corkscrew when Mr. Chakravarty collapsed. His hiking partner then
hiked up to Indian Garden, which is located approximately two miles north
of where Chakravarty collapsed, to report the incident. He arrived at
approximately 5:30 p.m.
National Park Service Search and Rescue Rangers arrived on scene at
approximately 6:00 p.m. Mr. Chakravarty had already passed away.
His body was recovered and flown to the South Rim this morning and will be
transported to the Coconino County Medical Examiner's Office in Flagstaff,
Park Rangers suspect Mr. Chakravarty died from heat related illness. An
autopsy will be performed later today to confirm cause of death.
This is a tragic reminder that a rim to river to rim hike in the middle
of summer when temperatures are well above 100 degrees in the inner canyon,
can be extremely dangerous,¨ stated Ivan Kassovic, an Inner Canyon Ranger
at Grand Canyon National Park. He added, ˇ§the rim to river to rim hike the
two had planned was approximately 17 miles. The NPS strongly discourages
rim to river to rim, and rim to rim hikes during the summer when
temperatures are extreme. Yesterday, a temperature gauge within the rescue
helicopter logged a temperature of 120 degrees at 6:00 p.m. near the
To avoid trouble, the NPS suggests, planning your hike well before
starting; hiking during the cooler, shadier times of the day; eating salty
foods and drinking water or sports drinks; and to go slowly, resting often
in the shade.
Park Rangers warn of the "Danger Zone" which is a combination of
distance traveled, elevation, temperature, and direct sunlight that can
easily overwhelm the body's ability to keep itself cool, fueled, and
Emergency situations can be avoided by knowing how to avoid the following
"Heat Exhaustion is the result of dehydration due to intense sweating.
Hikers can lose one to two liters of water per hour. Rangers at both
Phantom Ranch and Indian Garden treat as many as 20 cases of heat
exhaustion a day. Symptoms include: pale face, nausea, cool and moist skin,
headache, and cramps. Treatment: drink water, eat high-energy goods, rest
in the shade, and cool the body.
"Heatstroke is a life threatening emergency where the body's heat
regulating mechanisms become overwhelmed by a combination of internal heat
production and environmental demands. Grand Canyon has two to three cases
of heatstroke a year. Symptoms: flushed face, dry skin, weak and rapid
pulse, high body temperature, poor judgment or inability to cope,
unconsciousness. Treatment: find shade, aggressively cool victim with
water, and send for help"
"Hyponatremia is an illness that mimics the early symptoms of heat
exhaustion. It is the result of low sodium in the blood, which is caused by
drinking too much water and losing salt through sweating. Symptoms: nausea,
vomiting, altered mental states, and frequent urination. Treatment: have
the victim eat salty foods. If mental alertness decreases, seek help"
High temperatures are expected to continue in Northern Arizona and in the
inner canyon until the monsoons arrive.