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Missing hiker found dead in Utah’s Zion National Park


(SPRINGDALE, Utah) — A hiker who went missing after flash floods hit Utah’s Zion National Park last week has been found dead, park officials said Tuesday.

Jetal Agnihotri, of Tucson, Arizona, was found in the Virgin River on Monday and was later pronounced dead by a medical examiner, park officials said.

“Our deepest sympathy goes out to the friends and family of Jetal Agnihotri,” Zion National Park superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh said in a statement.

The National Park Service initially received multiple reports of park visitors being swept off their feet by a flash flood in the Narrows in the Zion Canyon at around 2:15 p.m. on Friday.

One hiker was sent to the hospital, while rangers found several hikers isolated near Riverside Walk due to high flood water, the National Park Service said.

Agnihotri was reported missing Friday evening after she was overdue from a trip in the Narrows. She was found in the Virgin River near the Court of the Patriarchs, which is about 6 river miles south of the Narrows, park officials said.

The National Park Service was assisting the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and Zion’s rescue team as they searched parts of the Virgin River, located south of the park, for Agnihotri this week.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office’s water team investigated the fast-flowing and deep areas of the river, while dog handlers looked into areas with vegetation and log jams, park officials said.

More than 170 responders ultimately participated in the four-day search and rescue operation, park officials said.

Amid the search, Agnihotri’s family was anxiously awaiting news.

“We don’t know what she’s going through, where she is,” her brother, Pujan Agnihotri, told Salt Lake City ABC affiliate KTVX as the search entered day three.

Pujan Agnihotri had praised the National Park Service for its efforts in the search for his sister, whom he described as “strong-minded” and “independent.”

“We have confidence in […] whatever decision she would have taken,” Pujan Agnihotri said. “Unfortunately, this flash [flood came] out of nowhere, there [were] no caution signs, there was no closure during the flash flood.”

ABC News’ Nadine El-Bawab and Nicholas Kerr contributed to this report.

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