Update: Zion National Park identifies missing hiker

Jetal Agnihotri. Image: Twitter

ZION NATIONAL PARK, Utah, Aug. 20, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — Zion National Park has identified the hiker still missing Saturday after a sudden flood Friday.

The missing woman is Jetal Agnihotri, of Tucson, Ariz. She was reported overdue Friday from a trip to the Narrows, a ZNP statement says.

“In response, park rangers continued monitoring the river during the night and mobilized additional searchers early on Aug.20,” says the park statement, issued at 4 p.m. Saturday.

“More than 20 Zion Search and Rescue Team members are working in and near the Virgin River searching for this missing person.”

Jeff Bradybaugh, Zion National Park superintendent said efforts to find the missing woman continue.

“I want to express the park’s appreciation for the ongoing support we’ve received from the National Weather Service, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and Hurricane Valley Fire District as we continue search and rescue operations.”

Friends and family

Several tweets issued by others prior to the ZNP release of the missing woman’s name say Agnihotri is a friend and family member, and ask for information on the case.

“Urgent: We lost our friend at Zion,” one tweet says. “She was in the Narrows around 1 to 3 p.m. She is an Indian 29-year-old girl with a pink shirt and black leggings.

“Please give us an update if you know anything.”

Search response

The Park statement says after the initial report of flooding, “The National Park Service immediately sent rangers to assess the situation and began mobilizing for a large-scale response.

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.

“Other rangers hiked up Riverside Walk and found several hikers who were isolated by high water on high ground. Rangers directed them to remain in place until water receded and then assisted them to safety.”

Zion National Park maintenance staff assigned to other jobs near Zion Canyon Scenic Drive immediately moved to positions along the Virgin River to monitor conditions there, the statement says.

“More than 20 park rangers and members of the Zion Search and Rescue Team deployed with flotation devices and ropes along the Virgin River prepared to reach visitors who might be in the water.”

Throughout Friday afternoon and evening, Zion National Park rangers interviewed groups of visitors exiting the Narrows and Riverside Walk to ensure they were not missing a member of their party, the statement says.

“At that time, no hikers were reported missing. It wasn’t until later in the evening that friends reported Ms. Agnihotri missing.”

Zion rangers are monitoring the weather and continuing the park’s search and rescue efforts, the statement says.

For other visitors

Search and rescue operations may affect visits to Zion, the statement said, sharing other Aug. 20 conditions:

  • Riverside Walk and the Narrows are closed.
  • Search and rescue operations are not currently affecting access to Angels Landing or most other destinations in Zion Canyon.
  • Emerald Pools and the Kayenta Trail were already closed following rain on August 18 and remain so.
  • Virgin River Narrows camping permits and top-down river hiking permits are canceled.
  • Park shuttle buses in Zion Canyon are operating at stops between the Zion Canyon Visitor Center and the Grotto (Shuttle Stop #6) only. In the town of Springdale, shuttles are operating on their normal route and stops.

Gephardt Daily will have additional updates as information is released.

The Narrows. Image sources: nps.gov, Google Maps


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