Search for missing hikers in Grand Canyon being scaled back

Merrell offers to assist Grand Canyon search for woman teen

The boy's uncle, Mark McOmie, says the company is providing climbers and rescuers and that the family of the missing boy was offering a military-grade drone.

The search for a Vernal woman and her step-grandson missing in Grand Canyon National Park after being swept away in Tapeats Creek Saturday evening is being scaled back, family members said Thursday.

A family spokesperson told WRCB TV on Wednesday night that the National Park Service had called off the search.

Despite ongoing rescue efforts by the National Park Service for missing Grand Canyon hikers LouAnn Merrell, 62, and her stepgrandson Jackson Standefer, 14, the mission has been scaled back, according to NewsChannel 9 in Phoenix, Az.

The National Park Service it is discontinuing the search for two missing hikers, as of Thursday morning.

The teenager's family has offered to provide a military-grade drone to help the National Park Service in the search, which rangers said is a hard and complex one.

They were crossing a creek while on the Tapeats Trail when they lost their footing.

Randy Merrell and the boy's mother were hiking with them when they disappeared.

Park spokeswoman Robin Martin says three ground teams resumed searching Tuesday along the creek and its downstream confluence with the Colorado River.

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Crews have been searching on the ground, by helicopter, and by drone.

Her husband and son, Ivan, were also on the trip, said Jake Phillips, a friend and relative of Lou-Ann Merrell.

The North Rim, an area visited only by 10 percent of Grand Canyon visitors, has rapidly changing weather and visitors should be prepared for heat, cold, rain, wind or snow, the park service says.

The Grand Canyon is consistently one of the most popular attractions in the United States, drawing almost 6 million people a year ago. She is the wife of Randy Merrell, who helped found the outdoor footwear company Merrell Boot Co.in 1981.

But the park's almost 2,000 square miles, steep cliffs and mesmerizing views have often led to accidents and deaths.

A spokeswoman said Wednesday that the park service is working closely with the family of 62-year-old LouAnn Merrell and 14-year-old Jackson Standefer and is considering the resources their family has suggested donating.

"This is one of the gems of backpacking in the Grand Canyon", Nelson said. We know they have done everything possible since Saturday, April 15, to find Lou Ann and Jackson. We felt your prayers and were sustained by them in ways we can not begin to describe.

Zwiers also said in the written statement that the company was grateful to the searchers and that he continues to be hopeful. Please direct all search related questions to GCNP. The families would like to thank everyone for their tremendous outpouring of love, prayers and support throughout this tragic ordeal.

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