Swift water rescue at Zion prompts officials to keep Virgin River, Narrows closed for now

Swift water rescue at Zion prompts officials to keep Virgin River, Narrows closed for now

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SPRINGDALE — Zion National Park officials are urging visitors to be cautious around rushing water after a child and two adults ended up in a precarious position due to swift, high water levels in the Virgin River on Tuesday.

A 12-year-old boy was wading near the edge of the Virgin River in Zion National Park around noon when he was swept away by the force of the current, according to an emailed statement from the National Park Service. His mother and a second woman dove into the water after him and helped him onto a boulder.

Bystanders rescued the second woman, and helped search and rescue crews reach the boy's mother. Crews reached the child using a kayak and ropes, according to the statement. No one suffered any injuries during the incident.

National Park Service officials are concerned that visitors aren’t exercising appropriate caution near the river, which has high water levels this year.

“This incident highlights the need for personal attention to safety around stream courses throughout the region under high snowmelt conditions,” Zion superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh said in the news release.

Zion National Park closed the Virgin River (including the Narrows), at the beginning of April because of fast-flowing snowmelt waters; additional precipitation this year had added to waterflow that remains too high for public access, according to the statement. The water may look nice, officials caution in the release, but it’s flowing at 210 cubic feet per second (cfs), which is enough to knock someone off their feet and drag them downstream.

Bradybaugh added in the news release that river access will stay closed until water reduces to at least 150 cfs for an entire day. He anticipates access will remain closed for 1-2 more weeks.

Visitors can check the status of river flows through the United States Geological Survey and visit the National Park , for up-to-date information about the park.

Editor's note: The content of this article was taken from a press release sent out by the National Park Service. This is not information gathered by KSL.com reporters.

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Cara MacDonald enjoys both engaging in outdoor recreation and writing about it. Born and raised in Utah, Cara enjoys skiing, rock climbing, hiking and camping. She is passionate about both learning about and experiencing the outdoors, and helping others to learn about and explore nature. She primarily writes Outdoors articles centering around wildlife and nature, highlighting adventure opportunities, and sharing tips and tricks for outdoor recreation.


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