Search and rescue operation underway in Zion National Park following flash flood

Aug 19, 2022, 4:28 PM | Updated: Aug 20, 2022, 12:29 pm
The Virgin River flows through the Zion Narrows in Zion National Park (Google Earth Pro)...
The Virgin River flows through the Zion Narrows in Zion National Park (Google Earth Pro)
(Google Earth Pro)

UPDATE: Search and rescue crews have resumed their search for a person who was reported missing late Friday evening.

Zion National Park spokesperson Jonathan Shafer said the park mobilized its search team early Saturday morning to go back out and continue the search through the Narrows and down the Virgin River.

The area was hit by flash flooding Thursday afternoon, and multiple visitors were swept off their feet near the Temple Sinawava in the Narrows.

One person who had been swept off their feet was carried several hundred yards in the Virgin River before being rescued. Shafer said that person was taken to an area hospital.

UPDATE: Around 2:15 p.m., the park received a report that multiple visitors were swept off their feet by a flash flood in the Narrows, near the Temple of Sinawava, according to Jonathan Shafer, spokesperson for Zion National Park.

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

Park rangers hiked up Riverside Walk where they found several hikers on high ground who were isolated by high water. Shafer said rangers spoke with the visitors and directed them to remain in place.

“Zion National Park maintenance staff, who were clearing debris from a prior slide that affected the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, immediately moved to positions along the Virgin River to monitor it. And more than 20 park rangers and members of the Zion Search and Rescue team are deployed with location devices and ropes along the Virgin River in an attempt to reach visitors who might be in the water.”

Shafer said park rangers began interviewing every group of visitors exiting Riverside Walk to ensure they’re not missing a member of their party.

As of 5:45 p.m. Friday, they have not had any hikers reported missing.

Our original story continues below.

SPRINGDALE, Utah — A search and rescue operation is underway on the Virgin River in Zion National Park following a flash flood.

Jonathan Shafer, spokesperson for Zion National Park, said the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning around 1:30 p.m. Shortly after, the National Park Service closed the Narrows, along with all other slot canyons in the park.

Park officials said shuttles are only moving visitors south on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive due to the ongoing incident.

Details about how many victims were involved and how many agencies were responding was not immediately available.

According to the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City, flash flooding is probable in Zion National Park, and several other national parks in southern Utah, throughout the weekend.

“Make sure to check in with local visitor centers or ranger stations before heading out and have a plan if threatening weather approaches,” read a Friday afternoon tweet from NWS.

This article will be updated as additional information becomes available.

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Search and rescue operation underway in Zion National Park following flash flood