Group of Hikers Stranded in Cave During Flash Flooding at Canyonlands National Park

by Sean Griffin

This past Saturday, a group of hikers took shelter in a cave at Canyonlands National Park after being stranded because of flash flooding.

Matt Castelli and his friends, a group of seasoned hikers, started their rafting trip down Green River. However, a few hours into the trip, the group realized they would need to make adjustments.

Castelli said: “We saw dark clouds and then lightning off in the distance. We kept checking in with each other then made the (decision) to get out about a mile down. We hurried into an alcove that was a hundred feet above the river.”

He said about two minutes after they were all in the cave, the real flooding started.

“It was sheets of rain that would block out your vision, you know, looking more than a few hundred yards away,” Castelli said.

The group huddled up for over two hours waiting for the storm to pass. They said the scenery quickly changed when they emerged.

“The prettier waterfalls quickly turned brown and choked with mud,” Castelli said. “We started seeing waterfalls in places we didn’t even know there could be waterfalls.”

Group members say they remain grateful they were prepared for the incident. However, they maintain they will be even more prepared before their next excursion.

“We did get a weather forecast on Saturday but I think going forward we will get one in the morning and one at noon,” Castelli said.

Fortunately, the group safely camped overnight. They hiked out of the area on Sunday.

Footage Shows Hikers Swept Away in Floods; One Hiker, Jetal Agnihotri, Was Found Dead Days After This Video

Tragic video footage released appears to show the 22-year-old Arizona tourist who died at Zion National Park moments before her death. Jetal Agnhihotri, whose body was found three days after this video, is thought to be one of the figures being swept away by a rush of floodwater. The victim’s brother believes one of the figures in the water is his sister.

In the clip shared by KUTV2, a few people cling to fallen tree limbs and logs as they sweep past the worried bystanders on the bank. The muddy water travels quickly and barrels over trees and anything else in its path.

In the video, one woman shouts “Dad!,” possibly at one of the people visible in the clip, or perhaps someone else watching the tragic events unfold. Another helpless onlooker gasps, “Oh my God!”

“We believe it’s her,” the brother, Pujan Agnihotri, told the local station.

Agnihotri hiked with friends through on Friday afternoon when the group was swept downstream by flash floodwaters overtaking the Virgin River.

Monsoon rains increased the amount of water flowing there by a staggering 8,229 gallons, officials said.

Park rangers quickly found an injured hiker who had been swept downstream several hundred yards. They also found several hikers who were isolated by water on high ground. They believed everyone had been accounted for, until Jetal Agnihotri was reported missing. The park sends condolences to her family.