Broken elevator leaves 5 prisoners underground in Grand Canyon caverns for more than 24 hours

Five tourists who were trapped about 200 feet underground in Arizona’s Grand Canyon caverns for more than 24 hours due to an elevator malfunction have since been rescued, authorities said.

“All subjects were safely removed approximately 7:30 p.m. last night and were all in good condition,” Coconino County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Jon Paxton told ABC News in an email. email Tuesday morning.

The elevator broke down Sunday night when visitors went to leave the popular tourist attraction near Peach Springs, Arizona, about 100 miles west of Flagstaff. Several people were able to climb the 21 flights of stairs to exit, but five others were unable to do so safely or chose to stay with those who physically could not, according to the sheriff’s office.

The stranded group were housed and fed that night in a small hotel and restaurant adjacent to the Dry Caverns, which are among the largest in the United States and date back 65 million years. The elevator malfunction was initially thought to be electrical, but is now believed to be mechanical after an external generator that arrived on Monday did not fix the problem, the sheriff’s office said.

The sheriff’s office said it sent a search-and-rescue team with a basket device capable of lifting people into the elevator shaft one at a time, in case technicians couldn’t fix the elevator quickly.

It is not immediately clear how the tourists were rescued on Monday night.

ABC News’ Marilyn Heck and Nick Kerr contributed to this report.

ABC News

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