Searchers find the body of missing hiker in Zion National Park
ZION NATIONAL PARK, Utah – Zion National Park announced that searchers found the body of missing woman, Jetal Agnihotri, late Monday in Zion Nation Park in southern Utah.
Flash flooding swept Angnihotri off her feet Friday while she was hiking through The Narrows.
More than 170 responders contributed to operations over the course of the four-day search and rescue operation.
Rescuers found her in the Virgin River near the Court of the Patriarchs in Zion National Park and she was later pronounced deceased by a medical examiner.
“Our deepest sympathy goes out to the friends and family of Jetal Agnihotri,” Jeff Bradybaugh, Zion National Park superintendent said.
Zion National Park stated in their release, “Zion National Park received a report around 2:15 p.m. on Friday, August 19 of multiple hikers being swept off their feet by a flash flood in the Narrows near the Temple of Sinawava.”
The National Park Service immediately sent rangers to assess the situation. One hiker was found after being swept downstream several hundred yards near the Temple of Sinawava. The hiker was injured and transported to a hospital.
Other rangers located several hikers who were “isolated by high water on high ground.” Rangers directed them to stay where they were until the water receded and then got them to safety.
However, the release states, “Throughout the afternoon and evening of August 19, 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. At that time, no hikers were reported missing.”
That changed when later in the evening, the National Park Service received a report of a hiker, Agnihotri, who was overdue from a trip to the Narrows.
A search and rescue team as well as many partner organizations worked to search for Agnihotri over the course of three days.
“The search ended on Monday, August 22 when Zion Search and Rescue Team members found the missing person, Jetal Agnihotri, in the Virgin River near the Court of the Patriarchs. The Court of the Patriarchs is about 6 river miles south of the Narrows.”
After hiking through The Narrows Friday, Agnihotri’s friends said they were all supposed to meet near the visitor center’s parking lot.
When she didn’t show up around their meeting time, Agnihotri’s friends called for help.
“We wanted to head out today,” said Mostafa, one of Agnihotri’s friends. He and one other friend were visiting Utah together along with Agnihotri.
The grad student friends were hoping to squeeze in one last adventure together before heading home.
“We wanted to do The Narrows,” Mostafa said. That was the plan, but plans changed.
Hearing the word of a flash flooding, Mostafa said they talked together about what they should do.
Eventually, they decided they would hang back, but Mostafa said Agnihotri was excited to visit The Narrows and decided to go in on her own.
They thought it was a safe enough bet, given her knowledge of water was strong with a background as a student studying hydrology.
“Now I wish that I did ask her not to go,” Mostafa said.
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