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Monday, January 30, 2023

Hiker missing after flash flooding in Utah’s Zion National Park

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Rescuers continued through the weekend to search for a woman who went missing on Friday during a flash flood in Utah’s Zion National Park, which also left a group of hikers off the ground.

The National Park Service identified the missing visitor as Jetal Agnihotri of Tucson, Arizona. She did not return to her residence Friday night after a day trip to the Narrows in the afternoon, the park service said in a statement.

Hikers wade through the Virgin River along the Narrows in Zion National Park, Utah in 2009. Ross D. Franklin / AP, file

Park officials said several hikers reported being swept off their feet Friday by flash flooding along the park’s spine – the Virgin River.

When park rangers responded to the report, they found an injured hiker several hundred meters downstream from the Sinawava temple, the park service said. The visitor was hospitalized and their condition was not available.

Rangers also found several hikers trapped on high ground near the water, park officials said. They were eventually taken to safety, it said.

After the initial search, all hikers were counted, until later in the evening when Agnihotri’s friends reported her missing, the park service said.

The area where Agnihotri went hiking, the Narrows, along with the adjacent Riverside Walk, were closed until further notice to facilitate the search.

Virgin River Narrows camping and certain hiking permits were also revoked.

Agnihotri’s friends told: Salt Lake City NBC affiliate KSL that she wanted to see the Narrows on Friday despite the… flash flood warnings that helped convince her friends not to go.

Pujan Agnihotri, her brother, told the station that she could not swim.

The popular Narrows hike requires visitors to walk in the Virgin River through Zion Canyon, which is 20 to 30 feet wide in places. The area is prone to flash flooding because it’s surrounded by bare rocks that don’t absorb water, according to the parks. website.


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