Macau tourist taking selfie at Grand Canyon falls to his death

A tourist who fell to his death at the Grand Canyon while trying to take a selfie was a man from Macau travelling with a Hong Kong tour group.

The Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong confirmed on Friday morning that the victim, believed to be in his 50s, was travelling with 11 others on a seven-day tour of the west coast in the US, including San Francisco, Las Vegas and Los Angeles – a trip he booked with Hong Thai Travel Services Limited in Hong Kong.

The incident took place on Thursday morning local time at Eagle Point, a popular tourist destination, during the second day of the tour.

“The trip to the national park was part of a self-pay activity, and the entire group was guided by the Hong Thai tour guide and a local guide who also spoke Cantonese,” said Alice Chan Cheung Lok-yee, executive director of the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong.

The man’s body was retrieved via helicopter from about 305 metres below the rim on Thursday afternoon at Grand Canyon West, according to Associated Press.

Photo: Website/Grand Canyon West

Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong chairman Jason Wong Chun-tat told the Post that the insurance company had reached out to the family of the deceased.

Macau’s Tourism Crisis Management Office confirmed it had received a report regarding the incident and was helping the travel agency get in touch with family members, according to Macau media.

The man’s identity has not been released by the tourism and immigration authorities.

Travel writer James Hong Ming-sang warned tourists to be extremely careful when taking photos, especially at locations without barricades like the Grand Canyon and Pulpit Rock in Australia.

“People are too dedicated to getting that perfect shot – they forget that just one little slip can be fatal,” said Hong, who has written travel columns, published more than 20 travel books, and hosted TV and radio travel programmes.

“I understand that in the age of digital media and ‘likes’, we want to capture the unique moment and it with our friends, but when you’re so focused on your phone or camera screen, you’re not aware of your surroundings and what you’re stepping onto,” he added.

“Always put our safety first and stay far away from the edge because it may windy up there, which may make us more vulnerable to losing our balance and falling,” Hong said, recalling his own visit to the Grand Canyon.

This article was first published on South China Morning Post.