Boy falls into Grand Canyon trying to move out of the way of tourist photo op

The grand canyon at sunset
A 13-year-old boy fell 100 feet trying to move out of the way so another tourist could take photos (Image credit: Dean Fikar)

A 13-year-old boy has survived falling into the Grand Canyon trying to move out of the way so that other tourists could take photos. The incident took place just two months after a clueless family gathered for a selfie mere inches from the edge of the canyon, risking their lives.

Wyatt Kauffman, who was on a family trip to Grand Canyon National Park, was standing on a ledge of the North Rim when he squatted down to get out of the way so that people could take pictures. He tells Phoenix television station KPNX that he lost his grip and fell 100 feet. He suffered nine broken vertebrae, a ruptured spleen, broken hand and a collapsed lung in the fall. 

"I just remember somewhat waking up and being in the back of an ambulance and a helicopter and getting on a plane and getting here,” he recalls.

Rescue crews took two hours to pull Kauffman to safety after realizing that a helicopter rescue would not be possible and rappelling down the cliff to reach him instead.

Photographic attempts have increasingly become the culprit of a number of accidents and near-misses in National Parks in recent years, including Yellowstone tourists who risked life and limb for a selfie with a bison

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.