PHOENIX (AP) Eighty Havasupai tribal members returned home Wednesday to a remote village near the Grand Canyon for the first time since a devastating flash flood earlier this week.
The Supai residents, evacuated during the weekend to the community of Peach Springs, were taken by bus to helicopters waiting at the rim of the canyon, Bureau of Indian Affairs spokeswoman Adrienne King said. The choppers took four to five people to Supai at a time, bypassing the flood-damaged trail to the village.
All the evacuees have returned home, King said Wednesday.
More than 420 people, including Havasupai members and tourists, were evacuated by helicopter Sunday and Monday.
Thunderstorms dumped 3 to 6 inches of rain on the entire region Friday and Saturday and about 2 inches more on Sunday. The storms sent a rush of water down Havasu Creek, uprooting trees and washing out trails and footbridges.
Tourism is a lifeline of the community of Supai, which is deep in a gorge off the main Grand Canyon and accessible only by foot, helicopter or mule. It's the only village in the country that has its mail delivered by mule train.
Sheila Manakaja, 40, has lived in Supai all her life and decided not to evacuate, saying she lives about 200 feet from the flooded river.
"It didn't seem like it was going to reach our area, and we didn't want to be displaced," Manakaja said Wednesday, adding that it's been hectic in the village the past few days.
"It looks like it's going to take a lot of work before it's going to be back to normal," she said.