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Broken elevator leaves five trapped underground at Grand Canyon Caverns for over 24 hours

(NEW YORK) — Five tourists who were trapped some 200 feet underground at Arizona’s Grand Canyon Caverns for more than 24 hours due an elevator malfunction have since been rescued, authorities said.

“All subjects were safely removed at approximately 7:30 p.m. last night and were all in good condition,” Jon Paxton, public information officer for the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, told ABC News in an email on Tuesday morning.

The elevator broke down on Sunday evening when visitors went to leave the popular tourist attraction near Peach Springs, Arizona, about 100 miles west of Flagstaff. Several people were able to walk up the 21 flights of stairs to get out, but five others were either unable to safely do so or chose to stay behind with those who physically couldn’t, according to the sheriff’s office.

The stranded group was provided accommodation and food that night by a small hotel and restaurant adjacent to the dry caverns, which are among the largest in the United States and date back 65 million years. The elevator malfunction was initially thought to be electrical but is now believed to be mechanical after an external generator that arrived on Monday did not fix the problem, the sheriff’s office said.

The sheriff’s office said it sent a search and rescue team with a basket apparatus that can lift people up the elevator shaft one-by-one, in the event that the technicians could not repair the elevator quickly.

It was not immediately clear how the tourists were rescued on Monday evening.

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