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GRAND CANYON TOURIST FALLS TO HIS DEATH

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A tourist who was spending the night at the edge of the Grand Canyon in a car apparently slipped while walking along the rim in the dark and fell 500 feet to his death.

The 26-year-old Stockton, Calif., man was passing through the area on a sightseeing trip with a friend Monday, said Lt. Rex Stermer of the Coconino County Sheriff's Department.The pair slept in their car in a parking lot at Yaki Point, a lookout near the park's main visitor center on the canyon's south rim. The friend, Lawrence E. Corbin, 24, of Volcano, Calif., noticed his companion missing Tuesday morning, saw bits of clothing on the rocks and spotted his body on a ledge, Stermer said.

There was no indication of foul play or suicide in the fall from an unpaved, unfenced stretch of the rim, Stermer said.

"It's not like you've got streetlights in the city," Stermer said. "When it gets dark and you start wandering around out there, there's some pretty steep drop-offs."

It was the first such death at the canyon this year, said park spokeswoman Maureen Oltrogge. The park averages one to two deaths by accidental fall each year.