Missing woman dies in floods in Zion National Park

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — An Arizona woman has died after being swept away by flash floods four days ago in Utah’s Zion National Park.

Zion National Park spokesman Jonathan Schaefer said in a news release that 29-year-old Jetal Agnihotri, of Tucson, Arizona, was discovered Monday about 6 miles (9.6 kilometers) south of the area where she was swept away by floodwaters. , Schaefer did not immediately return texts and email messages to explain why park officials waited a day to announce the discovery.

Her death is the latest reminder of the dangers of hiking in the narrow Red Rock Canyon in southern Utah Park during the monsoon season.

In past years, similar floods have caused water walls to rise as high as buildings, engulf vehicles, boulders and torn down trees. In September 2015, a similar storm in the park drowned seven people and killed 12 others in a nearby town.

Agnihotri was hiking with friends through a famous slot canyon called The Narrows when the group was swept downstream by flash floodwaters overtaking the Virgin River. The National Park Service said that while the rest of the group made it to safety, Agnihotri did not, prompting rangers to launch a search mission that included fast-water trained rescue teams, sniffer dogs and more than 170 emergency personnel. respondents were used.

The National Weather Service and Washington County, Utah both issued flood warnings for the area that day. Agnihotri’s brother told local television station KSL-TV that she did not know how to swim.

Slot canyons in Zion National Park can be as narrow as windows and can be hundreds of feet deep in some parts. They are among the most beautiful and visited areas of the destination.

But floods, this year and historically, can turn canyons, slick cliffs and normally dry washes into deadly channels of fast-flowing water and debris in mere minutes. The National Park Service said floodwaters increased the volume flowing through the Virgin River to 8,229 gallons (31,149 litres), which flowed downstream to Agnihotri during monsoon rains.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to the friends and family,” said Zion National Park Superintendent Jeff Bradybag.

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