Hiker dies after being swept away by monsoon flooding at Zion National Park
The FOX Forecast Center says the monsoon season in parts of the Desert Southwest has been historic with over double the average number of flash flood warnings issued
SPRINGDALE, Utah – A hiker was found dead in Zion National Park after monsoonal rains caused flash flooding in southern Utah.
Park rangers said that Jetal Agnihotri of Tucson, Ariz., was found in the Virgin River near the Court of the Patriarchs in Zion National Park on Monday.
"Our deepest sympathy goes out to the friends and family of Jetal Agnihotri," Jeff Bradybaugh, Zion National Park superintendent, said.
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Officials initially received reports around 2:15 p.m. Friday of hikers needing rescue after being swept off their feet and were able to respond to the group quickly. It was later on during the evening that the park said they became aware of a missing hiker who reported overdue from a trip.
A spokesperson for the park said more than 170 park rangers and members of the rescue team searched along the Virgin River in the event any other visitors might be stranded.
Parts of the park were shut down due to flooding and ongoing search and rescue efforts, especially along the Virgin River.
Officials say that several seasonal-monsoon rains increased flow in the Virgin River to a peak of more than 1100 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.
The FOX Forecast Center said rivers will continue to rise into the workweek as rainfall runoff makes its way into waterways.