OUTDOORS + RECREATION

Search continues in areas of the Virgin River, south of Zion, for missing hiker

Aug 19, 2022, 6:43 PM | Updated: Aug 22, 2022, 2:42 pm

Long lines and heavy traffic are expected at Zion National Park this summer as they prepare for the...

FILE: Long lines and heavy traffic are expected at Zion National Park this summer as they prepare for the Fourth of July. (Deseret News)

(Deseret News)

SPRINGDALE, Utah — Zion National Park has confirmed that hiker Jetal Agnihotri of Tuscon Arizona went missing on August 19, 2022 and that a search of areas of the Virgin River continues.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office has asked for help from the National park Service in the search for Agnihotri, and search dogs are also helping in the search and rescue efforts. 

What visitors need to know

Search and rescue operations may affect visits to Zion. As of August 20:

  • 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.

Aug 19, 2022, 6:43 p.m.

Officials at Zion National Park say a search and rescue operation was conducted Friday on the Virgin River after reports of several people being swept away following a flash flood.

According to Jonathan Shafer, spokesperson with Zion National Park, park officials received word at 2:15 p.m. of multiple people being swept off their feet by a flash flood in the Narrows.

“The National Park Service immediately sent rangers to assess the situation, and began mobilizing additional resources for a large-scale response,” Shafer said to KSL NewsRadio.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning Friday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. According to Shafer, the National Park Service closes the Narrows and the slot canyons at Zion National Park anytime a flash flood warning is issued. 

Park rangers hiked up the trail and found several individuals who were on high ground, separated by high water. The rangers instructed the hikers to remain in place.

Shafer says more than 20 members of the search and rescue team were deployed along the Virgin River. They had ropes and flotation devices incase anyone was in the water. Additionally, he says park rangers are speaking with every group of visitors to ensure they are not missing anyone. 

As of Friday 6:25 p.m., Shafer says the park has not had any reports of missing hikers.

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Search continues in areas of the Virgin River, south of Zion, for missing hiker