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PROVO — A family’s hike through The Narrows at Zion National Park took an unnerving turn last Saturday when the water swelled and raged unexpectedly in a flash flood.
Victor Villar said he and several relatives were about a mile up The Narrows when the "greenish-blue" water they were walking through turned brown.
“You could just see all the debris coming down in the water,” Villar said. “There were sticks, small logs, just tons of dirt and rocks.”
Villar said the rushing water, which smartphone videos showed to be about waist-high, would have been strong enough to wash away a child, an elderly adult, or potentially any adult who lost footing.
“The kids for sure would not have been able to cross by themselves — the current was just way too strong,” Villar said. “I had to walk facing the current so that I didn’t get pushed over carrying one of my cousins.”
The videos showed Villar’s family members and tourists forming something of a human chain to help each other cross.
“At first it was just three of us and then over the time when more people started to go through, just more and more people started to line up and help,” he said. “It was honestly kind of cool how everyone just banded together and nobody really said, ‘Hey just come help’ — it was just everyone started helping.”
Villar said family members had checked the weather forecast prior to their hike and didn’t believe a flash flood was likely.
They didn’t receive any warning notifications until after they returned because of poor cell service, Villar said.
Villar said he hoped his family’s story would motivate others to be prepared.
“Just make sure you’re always prepared for every situation,” Villar said. “You never know. Utah weather is kind of unpredictable. You’ve got to stay safe out there.”