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ZION NATIONAL PARK — The body of a hiker who was stranded by quick-rising water in the Zion National Park Narrows was found Sunday afternoon.
Early Saturday morning, two male hikers entered the Narrows from the Riverside Walk Trail, while the water was at safe levels. When rainfall began around 9:30 a.m., the two turned around, heading back out of the slot canyon. The water quickly reached flash-flood levels, moving 4,020 cubic feet per second.
Around 10 a.m., the flooding stranded the men on high ground on opposite sides of the river from one another. They were unable to communicate over the noise of the river, and remained on the banks for several hours.
Around 4 p.m., one of the hikers left the ground to swim downriver to the Riverside Walk Trail, and the other man remained on the bank. The one swam to safety, and contacted a park ranger around 6:30 p.m.
Park rangers went to the Narrows, but the river was still too strong for them to enter safely from downstream. Rangers determined that due to the hiker’s report of his companion, who was not injured or in distress when he last saw him, they would wait for the river to recede to a safe level before rescuing the stranded hiker.
Early Sunday morning, the hiker who had swam to safety notified rangers that he had completed the hike to the last point at which he saw his companion, but he was not there.
Rangers began a search, finding the 34-year-old man’s body around 2 p.m. along the bank of the Virgin River near the Riverside Walk Trail.
The man’s identity has not been released, pending notification of family.