SPRINGDALE, Utah (ABC4) – National Park Service (NPS) officials say that the hiker who went missing after a flash flood hit Zion National Park has been found deceased.

On Monday, August 22, Jetal Agnihotri of Tucson, Arizona was found in the Virgin River near the Court of the Patriarchs in Zion National Park.

Agnihotri was later pronounced deceased by a medical examiner, and NPS ended the search and rescue operation that began Friday, August 19.

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

More than 170 responders reportedly contributed to operations over the course of the four-day search.

These responders worked inside and outside the park, NPS states. The response involved work by “swift water trained rescuers, search dogs, and a total of more than 1,500 person-hours searching in and near the Virgin River,” according to a press release.

During the search, park rangers reportedly closely monitored the weather, and several seasonal-monsoon rains increased flow in the Virgin River to a peak of more than 1,100 cubic feet per second. The river was flowing at about 50 cubic feet per second when the Zion Search and Rescue Team ended their search, NPS states.

Throughout the afternoon and evening of August 19, Zion National Park rangers interviewed groups of visitors exiting the Narrows and Riverside Walk to ensure they were not missing a member of their party. At that time, no hikers were reported missing. 

Later in the evening, the NPS received a report of a hiker, Jetal Agnihotri, who was “overdue from a trip in the Narrows.” In response, park rangers continued monitoring the river during the night and mobilized additional searchers early on August 20. Zion Search and Rescue Team members as well as staff from many partner organizations worked in and near the Virgin River searching for Agnihotri. 

The search ended Monday when Zion Search and Rescue Team members found Agnihotri in the Virgin River near the Court of the Patriarchs.

The Court of the Patriarchs is about six river miles south of the Narrows. 

Zion National Park extends thanks to their partners in the effort to find Agnihotri:

  • Bureau of Land Management 
  • Color Country Interagency Fire Center 
  • Kane County Search and Rescue 
  • Hurricane Valley Fire District 
  • National Park Service staff from Grand Canyon National Park and Lake Mead National Recreation Area 
  • Springdale Police Department 
  • Utah Search Dogs  
  • US Forest Service 
  • Washington County Search and Rescue 
  • Washington County Sheriff’s Office 

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.