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



Jetal Agnihotri, seen 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 the 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 on Friday, Aug. 19, according to a National Park Service press release.

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

During the search, park rangers kept a close eye on the weather. Several seasonal monsoon rains increased the flow in the Virgin River to a peak of more than 1,100 cubic feet per second. The river was flowing at about 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 about several hikers who were swept off their feet by a flash flood in The Narrows near Sinawava Temple on Friday, Aug. 19, at around 2:15 PM.

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

Other rangers walked up Riverside Walk and found several hikers isolated by high water on high ground. Rangers told them to stay in place until the water receded, then helped them to safety.

Zion National Park maintenance personnel, who had been doing other work on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, immediately moved to positions along the Virgin River to monitor conditions there. Park rangers and members of the Zion Search and Rescue Team were deployed along the Virgin River with flotation devices and ropes to reach visitors who might be in the water.

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

During the afternoon and evening of August 19, Zion National Park rangers interviewed groups of visitors leaving The Narrows and Riverside Walk to make sure they didn’t miss a member of their group. No hikers were reported missing at the time, the press release said.

Later that evening, the National Park Service received a report from a hiker, Jetal Agnihotri of Tucson, Arizona, who was late for a trek in 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 and personnel from many partner organizations worked in and near the Virgin River in search of Agnihotri.

The search ended 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 6 river miles south of The Narrows.

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

These rescuers worked inside and outside the park, the press release said. The response involved the work of rapid water-trained rescuers, sniffer dogs and a total of more than 1,500 man-hours of searches in and near the Virgin River.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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