Five people have now been rescued after being trapped for over 30 hours underground.
The tourists were trapped 200 feet at the Grand Canyon Caverns in Arizona after an elevator at the tourist attraction malfunctioned, authorities said Monday.
The Grand Canyon Caverns is the country’s largest dry cavern. There is an underground hotel suite and restaurant.
Tourists can take a guided tour that begins with an elevator ride that takes you 200 feet underground. The tour is about 3/4 mile long and lasts about 45 minutes.
However, for one family, this tour was a lot longer.
The elevator suddenly stopped working, and the five tourists were stranded. One of whom was a mother with her infant and her young daughter.
Elevator repair personnel were working to fix the lift. Coconino Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Jon Paxton said they hooked up the elevator to an external generator on Monday, but the plug-in proved unsuccessful.
Paxton told Fox News that the individuals had medical conditions that prevented them from climbing up 20 flights of stairs to reach above ground in Peach Springs.
The stairwell is similar to an old fire escape, compounding the issue of accessibility, he added.
While the tourists were waiting, they could stay inside the underground suite, which sleeps six people and costs $1,000 a night for two. The suite has two queen beds, a fold-out futon, a bathroom, and a kitchenette with a microwave and a mini fridge.
The sheriff’s office did weigh the use of a harness to hoist the five tourists out of the caverns through the elevator shaft if the machinery cannot be fixed soon. The sheriff’s office soon came to the conclusion that they needed to do exactly that.
As of Monday evening, everyone was safely rescued. Three of the tourists had to be hoisted up by the search and rescue team.