On Tuesday, Zion National Park revealed that they had located the body of a hiker who had been missing since last week’s flash flood. The body of 29-year-old Tucson resident Jetal Agnihotri was discovered in the Virgin River next to the Court of the Patriarchs, the park announced.
Superintendent of the park Jeff Bradybaugh issued a statement “Our deepest sympathy goes out to the friends and family of Jetal Agnihotri,”
Agnihotri was last seen on Friday when flash floods swept away several hikers and prompted rescue workers to scramble into action. Zion National Park said in a statement that they got a report at 2:15 p.m. local time on Friday that multiple hikers had been washed away in the Narrows, close to the Temple of Sinawava.
According to the park, rangers conducted an initial search and located one injured hiker, who was then taken to a nearby medical facility. The rangers discovered a number of more people who had made it through the flooding unscathed by climbing to higher land.
Where Was the Missing Hiker Found?
According to the park, the location of the spot where she was discovered is around “six river miles south of the Narrows.”
In spite of the fact that it frequently experiences dangerous conditions and is subject to flood warnings issued by the National Weather Service, Zion National Park is one of the most frequented recreational destinations in the United States. Floods pose a threat not only to seasoned climbers and hikers but also to the large number of inexperienced visitors that have rushed to the area since the epidemic bolstered an increase in demand for outdoor leisure.
In spite of the warnings, travelers are frequently cut off by flash flooding when exploring the park’s slot canyons, which in some places are only as wide as windows but are several hundred feet deep.
“Once you’re in there, you’re just kind of S.O.L. if (a flash flood) happens,” said Scott Cundy, whose trekking firm in Arizona takes guests on guided trips through the park. “Once you’re in there, you’re just kind of S.O.L.”
Cundy has a clear recollection of the time when he was leading a tour one year and turned around to witness a wall of water rushing at the group of people he was guiding. They left Zion behind and raced to reach higher ground in the Grand Canyon, which was a two-hour drive away.
Up until just a few seconds ago, he hadn’t noticed a single cloud in the sky. He stated, “It takes place pretty quickly.” Cundy stated that he will call off tours in the confined canyons of Zion National Park if there is even the slightest possibility of precipitation.
Has the Water Returned to Manageable Levels?
According to the park, as the water levels returned to more manageable levels, they were taken to safety.
“Throughout the afternoon and evening of August 19, Zion National Park rangers interviewed groups of visitors exiting the Narrows and Riverside Walk to ensure they were not missing a member of their party,” the park said. “At that time, no hikers were reported missing.”
According to the statement made by the park, Agnihotri was not reported missing until much later on Friday evening.
“In response, park rangers continued monitoring the river during the night and mobilized additional searchers early on August 20,” the park said. “Zion Search and Rescue Team members, as well as staff from many partner organizations, worked in and near the Virgin River searching for Ms. Agnihotri”.