Hundreds evacuated from Grand Canyon after dam breaks

Other News Materials 18 August 2008 05:37 (UTC +04:00)

A rain-swollen earthen dam burst early Sunday in the southern rim of the Grand Canyon forcing the evacuation of more than 400 people, officials said.

Water breached the Redlands earthen dam south of Supai village, which is at the bottom of Supai Canyon, after heavy rainfall which started Saturday. A flash flood warning remained in effect for the area.

Supai village - home to about 400 members of the Havasupai tribe - is located on the Havasu creek, which meets with the Colorado river that runs the length of the Grand Canyon, the dpa reported.

Apart from the indigenous groups that live there, the Supai Canyon is a popular destination for hikers and campers because of its majestic waterfalls.

"The breach actually took place near a creek in a side canyon that leads to the Grand Canyon. The main people affected were residents of a reservation in the canyon," an official at the Grand Canyon National Park told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa on telephone.

An unspecified number of campers were also airlifted by Arizona state's National Guard and the department of public safety. Rescuers were looking for visitors who were staying at the Supai camp ground, above the Havasu Falls.

Carved by the Colorado river over several million years, the Grand Canyon is a steep-sided gorge in the US state of Arizona, and parts of Nevada state.

The canyon is 446 kilometres long, ranges in width from 6.5 to 29 kilometres, and can run as deep as 1.6 kilometres.