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Man’s Body Found After Entering Grand Canyon With Dog, Wooden Raft

The 58-year-old likely brought his dog with him on the trip. Though unrecovered, the dog is also believed dead, officials said.
thomas robinsonThomas Robinson, right, and his homemade raft; (photos/NPS)
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The body of a 58-year-old New Mexico man was recovered from Grand Canyon National Park on Friday, park officials said. Thomas Robinson entered the canyon by floating down the Colorado River on a homemade wooden raft. He likely started the trip with his dog, which is also believed dead, according to officials.

An investigation is ongoing as National Park Service (NPS) officials try to figure out what happened.

“He was an experienced outdoorsman from what we understand,” NPS spokesperson Joelle Baird told GearJunkie. “He had awareness of what he was doing. The bigger issue is that he didn’t have the adequate equipment or supplies, or a river permit. Bringing the dog also created additional hazardous conditions.”

thomas robinson and dog
Thomas Robinson and his Welsh corgi; (photo/NPS)

Ongoing Investigation

Robinson had left his Toyota Tacoma at Lees Ferry, a day-use area used for whitewater rafting trips through the canyon. The vehicle was found abandoned on April 21, leading park officials to begin a search for Robinson and his dog, an 11-year-old Welsh Corgi.

His paddle and life vest were found on the river last week, but the dog remains missing.

It’s rare for people to leave vehicles at Lees Ferry overnight — and even rarer for someone to bring a dog into the canyon, Baird said. (With the exception of service animals, dogs are not allowed in the park.)

grand canyon helicopter

In her 12 years working at Grand Canyon National Park, Baird has never heard of a missing dog in the river corridor. If it somehow managed to survive, the animal would likely be spotted by the many rafting groups launching from Lees Ferry every day, Baird said.

“Traveling down the river is not to be taken lightly for humans, and certainly not for dogs,” she said. “The temperature extremes, the cold water — there’s many elements that could harm an animal traveling in that capacity.”

Park officials are still waiting on a full report from the Coconino County Medical Examiner.

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