Tourists' Trip to Grand Canyon Turns into Waiting Game | News
LAS VEGAS -- A day trip to the Grand Canyon ended up being a sleepover for more than 50 tourists. Bus troubles left the group stranded at the Grand Canyon overnight for hours.
When the bus left Las Vegas Wednesday morning, it was scheduled to return in that evening.
But the tour group returned to the Las Vegas Strip early Thursday morning, eight hours after its scheduled return.
Tourists who visit Las Vegas love to see the breathtaking views of the nearby Grand Canyon, but Ramona Harris from Dallas found her Arizona excursion had Texas-size headaches.
"I haven't had any sleep for 24 hours," Harris said. "I haven't had anything to eat since 7 o'clock last night."
She said the tour trouble began at a checkpoint at the national park.
"The bus was inspected and something was wrong," she said.
Fellow passenger Bobby Jeffery of Savannah, Ga., snapped photos of the bus being taken out of service by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
"Basically, it was just pure hell," Jeffery said.
Their first bus parked, the group went off to view the Grand Canyon's south rim.
But the passenger's luck was left back in Las Vegas.
"They sent up another bus, and that bus broke down," Harris said.
Added Jeffery, "Which begs the question, you know, if your first bus failed the inspection, wouldn't you make damn well sure that the second bus would be like in tip-top shape?"
Their trip to the Grand Canyon turned into a grand waiting game for a third bus.
Jeffery's photos also show how the travelers counted the hours at a lodge.
"We were 57 people sitting on concrete … with a blanket," Harris said.
"We're all angry as hell," Jeffery said. "We all paid for a service that we were supposed to receive and we didn't receive that service."
The tour was expected back in Las Vegas at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday but didn't return until 6 a.m. Thursday.
Karen Rancilio, owner of Grand Canyon Tours, said it was an "unfortunate domino effect" because of the relief bus breaking down. She said the company is offering full refunds and is covering food costs. She said they take 100,000 visitors a year to the Grand Canyon without incident.
The bus company, Silver State Trailways, has not responded to requests for comment.