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5 tourists trapped about 200 feet underground at Arizona’s Grand Canyon Caverns

By Amy Simonson, CNN

Five people have been trapped about 200 feet underground at the Grand Canyon Caverns since Sunday in Peach Springs, Arizona, officials said.

The group became stranded at the tourist site after an elevator malfunctioned, according to Jon Paxton, a spokesperson for the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office.

“Yesterday five folks were exiting the caverns when the elevator stopped working. Believing it was an electrical problem, a generator was brought in. It’s not an electrical problem. It’s a mechanical problem,” Paxton told CNN.

Officials do not know how long it will take to fix the elevator, and the group is staying in a motel suite located at the bottom of the the tourist attraction, which sits about 65 miles northeast of Kingman, Paxton said.

“The Cavern put the people up in a motel, and there is a small restaurant at the bottom, and the motel is working to make the people as comfortable as possible while they are down there.”

There are approximately 21 flights of stairs leading to the bottom with platforms and ladders, Paxton said. However, some of the people trapped do not have the physical capabilities to climb the stairs.

“We have a search and rescue team standing by as well as a hoisting apparatus to lift people out if the repairs take longer than expected or if people are not comfortable staying down there,” Paxton said.

CNN reached out to The Grand Canyon Caverns for additional details.

The Grand Canyon Caverns is a tourist attraction that allows visitors to tour inside an ancient underground cave, dine and stay in a motel, according to its website.

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