20 staff and university students rescued near Grand Canyon

File photo.

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. (AP) — Twenty Northern Arizona University students and staff who were stranded in the snow near the Grand Canyon’s North Rim have been rescued.

Coconino County sheriff’s spokesman Gerry Blair says the 16 students, two instructors and aides were flown out three at a time in a helicopter. They were taken to an area near Jacob Lake in Tuesday’s 11-hour rescue operation.

Blair says they’re in good health.

The group was on a six-day backpacking trip for an outdoor leadership certification course that ended Monday.

When the group tried to leave, their vans got stuck on dirt roads covered with up to 2 feet of snow in a sparsely populated area about 30 miles from a paved road. They called authorities and were told to drive as far east as possible and hunker down for the night.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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