Late last Friday, Zion National Park officials received word of a missing woman following a flash flood that had hit the area. Since that initial call, park rangers still have not yet found any sign of 29-year-old Jetal Agnihotri from Tucson, Arizona.
According to the park’s release on Saturday, Agnihotri was exploring the Zion Narrows near the Temple of Sinawava on August 19. Later that evening, others in her group noticed she was “overdue” from the attraction. The narrows is a popular site within Zion National Park with 1,000-foot tall rock walls cut by the Virgin River. The night of Agnihotri’s disappearance, park rangers set up a patrol of over Zion Search and Rescue Team members along the river and continued searching the next day, August 20.
Zion National Park superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh noted the swift response time and the continued dedication to the search for the 29-year-old woman.
“Park rangers and other members of the Zion Search and Rescue Team responded quickly to this event, and we are continuing our efforts,” Bradybaugh said on Saturday.
Zion National Park Closes the Narrows and Riverside Walk
Naturally, to avoid any other disappearances or emergencies during the flash flooding, Zion National Park has closed the Narrows as well as the Riverside Walk to the public.
On Twitter, the park made it clear that the area will remain unavailable for the time being.
“The Narrows and Riverside Walk remain closed. Following a flash flood on Friday, August 19, the Zion Search and Rescue Team is continuing to search for a missing person,” the park announced.
Zion Officials Find Other Narrows Hikers in Distress
Unfortunately, Agnihotri was not the only hiker in trouble last Friday. Prior to the call about the 29-year-old park tourist, responding Search and Rescue crews found several others who needed immediate assistance.
“After receiving the initial report, the National Park Service immediately sent rangers to assess the situation and began mobilizing for a large-scale response,” the park stated on Saturday. Near the Temple of Sinawava, park rangers found an injured hiker who had been swept downstream several hundred yards. A National Park Service ambulance transported the hiker to a hospital.”
Meanwhile, other rangers headed up the Riverside Walk where they discovered that the high water had surrounded another group of tourists.
“Zion National Park maintenance staff who had been doing other work on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive immediately moved to positions along the Virgin River to monitor conditions there,” the release read.
Using flotation devices and safety ropes, teams were able to get the remaining visitors to dry land. It wasn’t until later that evening that officials heard from Agnihotri’s friends that she was missing.