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National Park Service joins search for missing hiker in Utah’s Zion National Park


(SPRINGDALE, Utah) — The family of the hiker who went missing after flash floods hit Utah’s Zion National Park is hoping their loved one is found safely, as the National Park Service joined in search and rescue efforts on Monday.

NPS is assisting the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and Zion’s rescue team as they search parts of the Virgin River, located south of the park, for Jetal Agnihotri of Tucson, Arizona, the park said in a press release Monday.

NPS 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, NPS said.

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, NPS said in a news release.

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

More than 20 park rangers and search and rescue team members are aiding with search and rescue efforts.

Pujan Agnihotri praised NPS for its efforts in the search for his sister, whom he described as “strong-minded” and “independent,” but added that the situation has been “frustrating.”

“It’s already day three for us and we haven’t found any clue except the backpack,” he told KTVX.

“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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