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Indian-American hiker swept away by flood at Zion National Park found dead

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Jetal Agnihotri (29) of Tucson, Arizona, went missing on 19 August when flash floods swept multiple hikers off their feet. She was discovered Monday about six miles (9.6 kilometers) south of the area where she was swept away

Indian-American hiker swept away by flood at Zion National Park found dead

Jetal Agnihotri (29) of Tucson, Arizona, who got swept away in a flash flood on 19 August at the Zion National Park in the US state of Utah. Twitter/@Pujanagnihotri

New Delhi: An Indian-American female hiker, who got swept away in a flash flood four days ago at the Zion National Park in the US state of Utah, has been found dead, according to a senior official from the park.

Jetal Agnihotri (29) of Tucson, Arizona, went missing on 19 August when flash floods swept multiple hikers off their feet, forcing park rangers and officials to launch rescue operations, the CBS News reported on Tuesday.

She was discovered Monday about six miles (9.6 kilometers) south of the area where she was swept away by floodwaters, ending a four-day search, Zion National Park spokesman Jonathan Shafer said in a news release.

“Our deepest sympathy goes out to the friends and family of Jetal Agnihotri,” the statement said.

Her death was announced a day after it was confirmed by medical examiners. It’s the latest reminder of the dangers of hiking in the narrow red rock canyons in the southern Utah park during monsoon season.

In previous years, similar floods have caused walls of water as tall as buildings, engulfing vehicles, rolling boulders and tearing out trees. In September 2015, seven people drowned in a similar storm in the park and another 12 people died in a nearby town.

Agnihotri was hiking with friends through a well-known slot canyon called The Narrows when the group was swept downstream by flash floodwaters overtaking the Virgin River. While the rest of the group made it to safety, Agnihotri did not, prompting rangers to embark on a search mission that used swift water trained rescuers, search dogs, and more than 170 emergency responders, the National Park Service said.

Zion National Park is among the United States’ most visited recreation areas even though it frequently becomes hazardous and is put under flood warnings by the National Weather Service, the report said.

Floods can create danger for experienced hikers and climbers as well as the many novices who have flocked to the park since the pandemic bolstered an outdoor recreation boom.

Despite warnings, flash flooding routinely traps people in the park’s slot canyons, which are as narrow as windows in some spots and hundreds of feet deep, the report said.

With input from agencies

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