Five people have been trapped 200 feet underground for more than 24 hours at the Grand Canyon Caverns in Arizona after an elevator at the tourist attraction malfunctioned, authorities said Monday.
The five tourists became stranded inside the country’s largest dry caverns — where there is an underground hotel suite and restaurant — at sundown Sunday, Coconino Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Jon Paxton told NBC News.
The individuals have medical conditions that prevented them from climbing up 20 flights of stairs to reach above ground in Peach Springs, Paxton told Fox News.
The stairwell is similar to an old fire escape, compounding the issue of accessibility, he added.
Elevator repair personnel are working to fix the lift. They hooked up the elevator to an external generator Monday, but the plug-in proved unsuccessful, Paxton said.
The sheriff’s office is also weighing using a harness to hoist the five tourists out of the caverns through the elevator shaft if the machinery cannot be fixed soon.
In the meantime, the five tourists are staying inside the underground suite which sleeps six people and costs $1,000 a night for two. The suite is equipped with two queen beds, a fold-out futon, a “RV style” bathroom and a kitchenette with a microwave and a mini fridge.