Woman found dead after being swept away by flash flood in Zion National Park – St George News

Jetal Agnihotri, shown in this undated photo, died in a flash flood while hiking in Zion National Park. | Photo courtesy of University of Arizona, St. George News

ST. GEORGE- Missing hiker Jetal Agnihotri of Tucson, Arizona, was found Monday in the Virgin River near Court of the Patriarchs in Zion National Park and was later pronounced dead by a medical examiner.

Flooding in Zion National Park, Utah, August 18, 2022 | Video still courtesy of Todd Hohbein, St. George News

The National Park Service has ended the search and rescue operation that began Friday, August 19, according to a National Park Service news release.

“Our deepest sympathy goes out to the friends and family of Jetal Agnihotri,” said Zion National Park Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh.

During the search, park rangers closely monitored the weather. Several seasonal monsoon rains increased the flow of the Virgin River to a peak of over 1,100 cubic feet per second. The river was flowing at around 50 cubic feet per second when the Zion search and rescue team ended their search.

Search and rescue timeline
According to the press release, Zion National Park received a report around 2:15 p.m. on Friday, August 19, of several hikers being swept away by a flash flood in The Narrows near the Sinawava Temple.

After receiving the initial report, the National Park Service immediately dispatched rangers to assess the situation and began mobilizing for a full-scale response. Near the Sinawava Temple, park rangers found an injured hiker who had been carried several hundred meters downstream. An NPS ambulance transported the hiker to hospital.

Other rangers hiked Riverside Walk and found several hikers isolated by high water on higher ground. The Rangers ordered them to stay put until the water receded, then helped them to safety.

Zion National Park maintenance personnel who had been doing other work on the Zion Canyon Scenic Byway immediately moved to positions along the Virgin River to monitor conditions there. Park rangers and members of the Zion Search and Rescue team fanned out along the Virgin River with floatation devices and ropes prepared to reach visitors who might be in the water.

Flood waters in Zion National Park, Utah, August 19, 2022 | Still from video courtesy of Tina Moussally Mspac, St. George News

Throughout the afternoon and evening of August 19, Zion National Park rangers interviewed groups of visitors leaving The Narrows and Riverside Walk to ensure no members of their group were missing. . At that time, no hikers were reported missing, according to the press release.

Later that evening, the National Park Service received a report from a hiker, Jetal Agnihotri of Tucson, Arizona, who was late from a trip to the Narrows. In response, park rangers continued to monitor the river overnight and mobilized additional searchers early on August 20. Members of the Zion Search and Rescue team along with personnel from numerous partner organizations worked in and near the Virgin River in search of Agnihotri.

The search ended on Monday when members of the Zion Search and Rescue team found the missing person, Jetal Agnihotri, in the Virgin River near the Court of the Patriarchs, about 10km south of The Narrows .

More than 170 responders contributed to operations during the four-day search and rescue operation, including the following: Bureau of Land Management, Color Country Interagency Fire Center, Kane County Search and Rescue, Hurricane Valley Fire District, staff National Park Service Grand Canyon National Park and Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Springdale Police Department, Utah Search Dogs, United States Forest Service, Research and Washington County Rescue and Washington County Sheriff’s Office

These responders worked both inside and outside the park, according to the press release. The response involved the work of trained swift-water lifeguards, search dogs and a total of more than 1,500 man-hours of searching in and near the Virgin River.

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