On July 3, park rangers responded to reports of a male visitor who climbed over a railing at the Grand Canyon, lost his footing, and fell approximately 500 feet.
According to Kirby-Lynn Shedlowski, Grand Canyon National Park Public Affairs Officer, the visitor who died was 24-year-old Andrey Privin from Buffalo Grove, Illinois.
The fatal fall occurred at Mather Point, a scenic Grand Canyon viewpoint located along the South Rim of the canyon. Mather Point is popular for its canyon vistas and proximity to the Visitor Center Plaza.
Some accounts on social media say that witnesses reportedly saw Privin throw his backpack to his intended landing spot, but onlookers did not realize the young man was going to try to jump the gap. Shedlowski would not confirm these accounts but told media outlets that Privin did remove his backpack.
"I understand that people are hypothesizing about what happened," Shedlowski told the nonprofit group National Parks Traveler. "While the incident remains under investigation, I can share that it is most likely he removed his backpack for better dexterity."
According to park statistics, an estimated 4.5 million people visit the Grand Canyon each year, and an average of two to three visitors die annually from falling over the rim.
An average of 8 to 10 additional people die at the park annually from other causes. These deaths can be attributed to anything from natural causes, medical issues and suicide, to heat, drowning and traffic crashes.