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Zion National Park visitor dies during nighttime hike with husband

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A hiker was found dead on a trail in Utah’s Zion National Park this week after her husband went to get help in freezing temperatures, park officials said Thursday.

The 31-year-old woman, who was not publicly identified, left with her 33-year-old husband on Tuesday for a permitted 26-mile nighttime hike along the park’s Narrows, the National Park Service said in a statement.

The hikers were slowed down by the cold weather, officials said.

On Wednesday morning, members of the Zion National Park Search and Rescue Team found the woman near the Virgin River, the agency said.

Fellow hikers had attempted CPR, the National Park Service said in the statement.

Her husband arrived at his destination, Riverside Walk, and was taken to the park’s emergency center for treatment, the agency said. His condition was not available.

More than 20 rescuers were assigned to assist the pair, park officials said.

The couple’s journey, which began Tuesday, included hiking along the Narrows, a 20- to 30-foot-wide trail lined by 1,000 feet of sandstone walls and centered by a river known to overflow, they said.

“The man reported that they became dangerously cold overnight and experienced symptoms consistent with hypothermia,” the National Park Service said in the statement.

The man continued down the trail to seek help at the popular Riverside Walk, officials said.

At the time, the pair were about 1.5 miles from that main thoroughfare, which is paved and has amenities. It was not clear if the couple knew they were so close to the passage. Low temperatures in the park this week approaching 30 degrees — below freezing — despite sunny days with highs in the mid-60s, according to the National Weather Service.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Utah’s medical examiner, and the park service were investigating the death, park officials said.

In late August, multiple hikers on the Narrows were caught off guard by flash flooding. Hiker Jetal Agnihotri, 29, was found dead in the Virgin River three days later.

Famous for its high desert natural geological sculpture, the park covers 148,016 acres in southwestern Utah.


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