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Rangers searching for missing hiker after flash flooding hits Zion National Park


SPRINGDALE, Utah (KTVX) – Zion National Park officials are searching for a missing hiker after flash flooding swept several people downstream late last week.

A spokesperson with Zion National Park, Jonathan Shafer, said park officials responded to the incident at 2:15 p.m. on Friday after receiving a report that “multiple hikers” had been “swept off their feet” by flash flooding in the Narrows at the Virgin River near the Temple of Sinawava.

The National Park Service sent park rangers to conduct a large-scale response.

An injured hiker was found near the Temple of Sinawava. That hiker, who had been swept downstream for several hundred yards, was taken to a nearby hospital, Shafer said.

When other rangers hiked further up, they found several people who were on high ground, separated by high water. The hikers were told to remain where they were until the water receded, at which point rangers helped them to safety.

More than 20 search and rescue team members were deployed along the Virgin River, officials say.

While speaking with visitors Friday evening, rangers said no members were reported missing. However, later that night, friends reported Jetal Agnihotri of Tucson, Arizona, was overdue from a trip to the Narrows.

Rangers monitored the Virgin River for Agnihotri, and conducted additional searches early Saturday. Authorities have not yet said if these searches have been successful.

The Narrows and Riverside Walk will remain closed, according to Zion National Park, as the search and rescue team searches for Agnihotri.

Zion National Park is the latest national park to be hit by flooding this summer.

On Saturday, roughly 150 people were stranded in Carlsbad Caverns National Park in southern New Mexico due to flash flooding, NewsNation reports. The park is closed Sunday due to flooding, officials say.

In early August, Death Valley National Park was hit by historic downpours from monsoonal thunderstorms, causing millions of dollars in damages. This summer’s active monsoon also damaged roads in the Mojave National Preserve and part of Joshua Tree National Park.

Historic flooding also forced Yellowstone National Park to close in June. Northern and northeastern entrances remain closed to vehicles.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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