Last week, Zion National Park experienced some flash flooding as a result of heavy rainfall, leaving 200 people stranded and one dead. Now, footage has surfaced that demonstrated just how powerful the rushing waters were as they ran across the slick red rocks, creating a muddy and debris-filled river across various parts of the national park.
The flooding began on August 19 and quickly became the largest that the Virgin River has seen in 2022. At the time, quite a few visitors were exploring the incredibly popular attraction, Zion Narrows, which follows the chilly Virgin River through nearly 1,000-foot-tall canyon walls. Here, visitors can wade through the water and explore the elements in their raw form. Also in this location is the Riverside Walk, where most tourists choose to admire the region. Unfortunately, with such high water levels, the separate walkway also proved to be treacherous as the raging waters consumed it, too.
At the time of the flooding, drone videographer Adam Freeman deployed his equipment across the landscape, capturing the newfound speed and depth of the Virgin River and connecting tributaries.
The flooding is actually a seasonal occurrence for Zion National Park, and the last to occur were in June 2021. This time, the Virgin River’s flow reached more than 1,100 cubic feet per second.
Zion National Park Deploys Search and Rescue Teams to Help Stranded Tourists
Soon after the floods hit the Zion Narrows, national park rangers received distress calls about the victims that couldn’t get to safety from the brown waters.
With safety ropes and flotation devices, rangers and Search and Rescue (SAR) teams werer able to pull each one to dry land. This included one injured hiker who ended up traveling several hundred yards in the water’s power. SAR teams found the unnamed hiker near the Temple of Sinawava. According to the park’s last release, the hiker was receiving treatment at a nearby hospital.
As each person escaped the floods, park rangers took the time to interview them and be sure that no other member of their group was missing.
The night of the floods, Zion National Park rangers also received an emergency call from the friends of hiker, 29-year-old Jetal Agnihotri from Tucson, Arizona.
Over 20 SAR teams deployed to the Narrows to search for Agnihotri, working through the evening an into Saturday.
“Park rangers and other members of the Zion Search and Rescue Team responded quickly to this event, and we are continuing our efforts,” Jeff Bradybaugh, Zion National Park superintendent shared in the park’s statement Sunday.
Sadly, on Tuesday, August 23, Zion National Park responders found the body of the missing woman near the Court of the Patriarchs formation.
“Our deepest sympathy goes out to the friends and family of Jetal Agnihotri,” Bradybaugh said as the new information became available.
Zion National Park reported that 170 rangers and SAR members contributed to the four-day search and recovery of Agnihotri.