20 NAU staff and students rescued from Grand Canyon's North Rim

A group of students and instructors were taken by helicopter to safety after their van got stuck in the snow on Monday afternoon.

16 students from Northern Arizona University, two instructors and two graduate students were on a six-day expedition to Sowats Point. They began to leave North Rim area of the Grand Canyon on Monday when one of their vans got stuck in the snow.

The students and instructors were able to get the vehicle out of the snow, but they realized the roads were impassable. The area of Fredonia had between 18 to 24 inches of snowfall during the snow.

The group called the university, which in turn called Coconino County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies communicated with the group with cell phones and satellite texting.

Everyone in the group was in good health and had plenty of provisions to last them overnight. 

Because of the time of day and weather conditions, the group drove as far east as possible and stayed inside the vehicles overnight.

On Tuesday, a Department of Public safety helicopter flew to the area and rescued members of the group two at a time. They are expected to be taken to Jacob's Lake.

According to an NAU official, the students are participating in the Parks and Recreation Management Outdoor Education and Leadership program.  The class field trip started on February 18 and was supposed to end on February 23.
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