Zion National Park officials are keeping The Narrows closed and limiting shuttle service Monday as search and rescue operations continue for a woman believed to have been caught in a flash flood Friday, according to a news release.
Jetal Agnihotri, of Tucson, Arizona, was reported overdue from a hike in The Narrows area on Friday evening, after Zion received between a half-inch and 1½ inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service.
The search for 29-year-old Agnihotri is concentrated on areas in or near the Virgin River with deep, fast-flowing water. The National Park Service is searching within the park’s boundary, while the Washington County Sheriff’s Office as well as dog handlers are searching the Virgin River south of the park.
On Monday, the sheriff’s office requested that the park service aid in the search south of the park.
The Riverside Walk also remains closed due to the search effort, and Virgin River Narrows camping permits as well as top-down river hiking permits are canceled.
The park shuttle currently is only traveling between the Zion Canyon Visitor Center and The Grotto (stop No. 6). The shuttle is still operating normally in the town of Springdale.
The Emerald Pools and the Kayenta Trail already were closed due to rain last week and remain closed.
The search effort is not impacting access to Angels Landing or other destinations in Zion Canyon, park officials said.
Park rangers initially received reports of multiple hikers being swept off their feet around 2:15 p.m. Friday near the Narrows, triggering a large-scale response. One injured hiker was taken to a hospital by ambulance; other stranded hikers isolated on high ground by high water were instructed to stay in place until the water receded and rangers could help them down to safety.
Rangers learned of Agnihotri’s apparent disappearance Friday evening. As this search continues, park officials are monitoring area weather. Tuesday is expected to be sunny, but there is a chance of thunderstorms and showers in the Zion area on Wednesday and Thursday, according to the weather service.