Grand Canyon has 3rd death in 2 weeks as man falls over edge

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — A 67-year-old man was killed Wednesday when he fell over the south rim of the Grand Canyon, which has seen three people die in three separate incidents over the past two weeks.

Park rangers responded to a call around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the rim, just east of Yavapai Geology Museum, where witnesses said the man had fallen. According to a news release from the National Park Service, a rescue team, with the aid of the park's helicopter, recovered the man's body about 400 feet below the rim.

A spokeswoman for the park told NBC News the man was visiting the park from California. She did not give the man's name.

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Wednesday's tragedy was the first over-the-edge death inside the Grand Canyon National Park this year. Last year, the park had 17 fatalities within its boundaries, NBC News reported.

A visitor from Hong Kong died last week when he stumbled over the edge of the south rim while trying to take pictures, The Associated Press reported. A helicopter was needed in that incident, as well, to recover the man's body from about 1,000 feet below the rim.

The man died at Grand Canyon West, a tourist spot on the Hualapai reservation outside the boundaries of the park,

. He fell at Eagle Point, a site known for the Skywalk.

, the Skywalk, which is managed by the Hualapai Tribe and located on tribal lands, consists of a horseshoe-shaped steel frame with a glass floor and sides that projects about 70 feet from the canyon rim.

The AP reported that while the rim has some ledges and outcroppings below, there are no barriers between tourists and the edge. Signs at Eagle Point warn tourists not to venture too close.

The man, who was part of a tour group, fell about 100 yards from the Skywalk, a Grand Canyon West spokesman told CNN.

The park service and the Coconino County Medical Examiner's Office were investigating the man's death, the park's news release said.

The Hong Kong visitor’s March 28 death was the second in less than a week at the tourist destination. Rangers and special agents on March 26 found the body of a foreign national in a forested area of the park south of the South Rim Village.

Little was released about the visitor's death, but park officials said it was not the result of a fall from the rim. The park service and county coroner's office were investigating that case, as well, CNN reported.

Vanessa Ceja-Cervantes, a park spokeswoman, told the network the park averages about 12 fatalities per year, with just a small number of those resulting from falls.

The causes of those deaths range from heat to drowning to medical issues and more," Ceja-Cervantes told CNN. "High elevation plays a role in some of the fatalities."