If being buried six feet underground scares you, imagine how it feels when you get stuck 200 feet below the ground.
Seligman Arizona Fire Chief Gary Bennett said a broken elevator caused a family, who had young children with them, and a second couple, to be stranded at the bottom of the Grand Canyon Caverns in Peach Springs, Arizona on Sunday.
Firefighters were able to help the family up about 21 flights on a narrow staircase on Sunday evening.
Bennett said that the husband of the second couple was able to use the stairs on his own and make it to the surface. He returned to his wife where they stayed at the motel suite in the caverns while they waited for the elevator to be fixed. They took the elevator on Monday, after it was fixed.
Douglas Grashel, who was stuck with his wife, his stepdaughter, a toddler, and a baby, had no way of escaping without help through the same route since they were all unfit to use the emergency staircase on their own. Grashel was scheduled for a back surgery soon and his wife already has artificial knees.
The emergency exit stairs were described to be “smaller than a ladder” and looked unsafe to use due to lack of protection.
In an interview with CNN, Grashel said, “You could smell the smoke in the elevator shaft and see the smoke coming down into the cavern.”
Jon Paxton, Coconino County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said that the elevator issue was mechanical, and not electrical.
A world-known tourist attraction, the Grand Canyon allows a tour of its underground cave. It also has an underground diner and a motel that guests can stay in.