Grapevine man was alone when he fell from Grand Canyon rim

03/18/2014 12:37 PM

03/18/2014 12:38 PM

The Grapevine man who fell to his death at the Grand Canyon over the weekend was alone when the accident occurred, authorities said Tuesday.

John N. Anderson, 53, of Grapevine was at Grand Canyon National Park with his wife on an outing. But park officials say he was alone Saturday morning near the El Tovar Lodge when he fell about 350 feet from a rim near the lodge.

“He wasn’t trying to shoot a photograph or anything like that,” his sister-in-law Suzy Naughalty said Tuesday by telephone. “It was just a freakish accident.”

Park officials said Tuesday that the incident is under investigation.

“We still don’t know exactly what happened,” said Kirby-Lynn Shedlowski, a National Park Service spokeswoman at the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

Rangers received a report of a man who had fallen from the rim at about 8 a.m. Saturday.

“Apparently, people heard him fall and reported it,” Shedlowski said.

Rangers located Anderson and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but he died at the scene from multiple injuries suffered in the fall, according to a preliminary ruling by the Coconino County medical examiner’s office in Flagstaff, Ariz.

“We don’t have a final autopsy, but the manner of death is an accident,” Trish Lees of the medical examiner’s office said.

Shedlowski said, “Some years, we’ll have quite a few deaths, but then there will be other years when we don’t have many.”

Emergency crews answer about 1,300 medical calls at the Grand Canyon park each year, according to National Park statistics. Deaths related to heat stroke, hypothermia, drowning and falls are primarily what crews respond to in the park. In 2012, there were 12 park fatalities, according to the most recent statistics.

Anderson operated John N. Anderson State Farm Insurance in Bedford at Texas 121 and Harwood Road, which was open Tuesday. A woman who answered the phone there declined to comment.

Anderson graduated from Purdue University with a degree in chemical engineering and had been a State Farm agent since 1985, according to his business website.

Anderson’s funeral will be 10 a.m. Saturday at First United Methodist Church, Grapevine. Visitation: 5 to 8 p.m. Friday in Bluebonnet Hills Memorial Chapel in Colleyville.

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