Thursday, March 28, 2013

Arizona: Colorado Tourist, 46, Killed After Horse, Rider Fall from Trail

According to, a Colorado Springs tourist was killed earlier this week as the result of guided horseback riding tour back up the Grand Canyon from Havasupai Village to Hilltop.  

Coconino County Sheriff’s spokesman Gerry Blair says several witnesses reported seeing William Kevin Hagins, 46, riding in a line of horses on a guided trip when the riders approached a stretch of trail with a sheer drop-off.  The horse appeared to have dislodged a rock on the trail, with both the horse and rider plummeting approximately 12-feet off the cliff with the horse landing on top of Hagins.  

COMMENT:  Although the horse strangely survived the substantial fall, Mr. Hagins died at the scene.

Blair said that a hired guide had been leading Hagins, his wife, his 5-year-old child and others out of the village of Supai. The village, deep in a gorge off the Grand Canyon, is home to the Havasupai Tribe. It is popular for its towering blue-green waterfalls and can be accessed only by helicopter or trail.

Although many guided horse tours can be safely accomplished with inexperienced riders, any terrain with sheer ledges and cliffs and riders who may not be comfortable with heights, can potentially result in serious accidents.

Just because a horse tour is offered to tourists, does not mean that there are not inherent risks.

Most recently, a young US tourist fell from a horse while riding in Costa Rica, resulting in a serious head injury that prompted cardiac arrest and subsequent death.