NAU students rescued during Grand Canyon trip

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. -- Emergency crews rescued 18 students and two staff members from Northern Arizona University who were stranded in the snow near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

The group was in two 12-passenger vans, according to Gerry Blair with the Coconino County Sheriff's Office. One of the vans got stuck outside of the Grand Canyon National Park in an area called Sowats Point. It was on a road that has a lot of snow and was impassable.

No one in the group seemed to worried about being stuck considering the group was with two wilderness experts one student told 3TV, "These guys, I mean they're just very prepared and know what they're doing so I never gave it a second thought really," she said.

The area from Fredonia to the North Rim is reporting 18 to 24 inches of snowfall from the most recent storm.

The group was approximately 30 miles south of Fredonia and 20 miles west of SR 67.

Someone from NAU notified the Coconino County Sheriff's Office about the situation on Monday.

Sheriff's Office officials could not launch a rescue effort on Monday because of the weather and it was too late in the day when they found out the group was stranded.

Blair said the students and staff were safe, warm and they have food. Nobody is injured.

An Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter crew located the stranded students and teachers on Tuesday and began flying them to Jacobs Lake three at time, according to Blair.

NAU transport vehicles will take them back to Flagstaff.

The group was on a six-day backpacking trip organized by NAU.