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Indian American Woman Who Went Missing in Flash Flood at Utah’s Zion National Park is Found Dead

Indian American Woman Who Went Missing in Flash Flood at Utah’s Zion National Park is Found Dead

  • Jetal Agnihotri, 29, was missing for four days, after going hiking with friends in a popular spot at the park.

An Indian American Arizona woman who went missing while hiking in Utah’s Zion National Park has died. Jetal Agnihotri, 29, was discovered on Aug. 22, “in the Virgin River near the Court of the Patriarchs in Zion National Park.” She was later pronounced deceased by a medical examiner, the National Park Service (NPS) said in a press release, adding that it has ended the search and rescue operation that began on Friday, Aug. 19. According to the NPS, “floodwaters had increased the amount flowing through the Virgin River by up to 8,229 gallons (31,149 liters) during the rains that swept Agnihotri downstream.”

Jetal Agnihotri (Photos: Facebook/Jetal Agnihotri)

The Ph.D. student at Arizona State University was hiking with friends through a well-known slot canyon called the Narrows when the group was swept downstream by flash flood waters overtaking the Virgin River. “While the rest of the group made it to safety, Agnihotri did not,” NPS said, “prompting rangers to embark on a search mission that used swift water trained rescuers, search dogs and more than 170 emergency responders.” Her brother Pujan Agnihotri told local television station KSL-TV that she did not know how to swim.

Both the National Weather Service and Washington County, Utah, had issued flood warnings for the area that day. “Flash floods due to monsoon season struck the park and rushing water swept several hikers off of their feet,” according to the press release. “Once water levels receded, all of the hikers were found except for Agnihotri.”

“Our deepest sympathy goes out to the friends and family,” said Jeff Bradybaugh, Zion national park’s superintendent in the press release. 

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University of Arizona president Robert C. Robbins issued a statement mourning Agnihotri’s tragic death. “She was a promising young researcher who had just earned a major grant and who spent most of her free time adventuring outdoors,” he said. “We convey our deepest condolences to her family and friends at this very difficult time.”

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