Drunk British Woman Disses, Spits on Grand Canyon Rescuers

A drunken British woman saved from a Grand Canyon cliff edge late Sunday night greeted her rescuers with scorn and spit, rangers say.

Charmaine Isaacs, 36, whose hometown was listed as the small village of Ilton, England, was arrested by National Park Service rangers on suspicion of disorderly conduct (creating a hazardous condition), public drunkenness, and "interfering with agency function" after an hourlong night rescue at the South Rim.

"She was uncooperative throughout," says Matthew Vandzura, acting chief ranger, further describing Isaacs as "drunk and belligerent."

She spit at two of the rangers, records state, spattering one of them right in the face.

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The epic ingratitude began after rangers received a call for help about 11 p.m., federal court records show.

Witnesses told rangers at the scene near the Bright Angel trail head that a woman over the edge had been screaming for help, shouting that she was holding onto a branch and losing her grip before suddenly going quiet. A ranger climbed down the cliff edge a short way and told her that help was coming. She began "swearing and shouting," refusing to give her name or say whether she was injured.

A group of 15 rescuers soon gathered at the site, and several of them used ropes to secure themselves or rappel down closer to her. But Isaacs tried to evade them, scampering around on the precarious, steep terrain about 50 feet below the rim.

"Due to the time of day, there was added risk to responding officer/rescuers," records state. Vandzura downplays this part, saying the search-and-rescue experts always stayed "well within our guidelines and safety parameters."

The rescuers eventually reached Isaacs and hauled her up safely to the rim, but the wasted Brit was anything but thankful. She reportedly cussed at the rescuers, calling one ranger an "ugly lesbian" and a "cunt." She spit at two of the rangers, records state, spattering one of them right in the face.

Rangers then booked her into jail for the night.

Vandzura says he can't explain why Isaacs acted so poorly toward the people who may have saved her life and that there was no indication she was suicidal.

Rangers could smell booze on her when they brought her up, but the woman blew only a .053 in a BAC breath test, which is lower than .08 limit for driving. However, an investigation revealed that Isaacs had been cut off from drinking at the Bright Angel Bar earlier in the evening because of her "loud behavior and her bothering other guests."

Her traveling companion, who wasn't identified, provided authorities with the woman's United Kingdom driver's license and told them she'd consumed "at least 6 to 8 drinks."

Isaacs was released Monday following a detention hearing and agreed to show up for a November 10 court hearing in federal court in Flagstaff.

UPDATE: Isaacs failed to appear for the hearing, records show.
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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern