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Felicia Martinez, KSL TV

7-year-old, 3-year-old Utah sisters die in flash flood near Goblin Valley State Park

By Lauren Bennett and Jacob Klopfenstein, KSL.com | Updated - May 12, 2020 at 6:43 p.m. | Posted - May 11, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.


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EMERY COUNTY — A 7-year-old girl died Monday and her 3-year-old sister's body was found on Tuesday after flash floods swept through the slot canyons near Goblin Valley State Park in southeastern Utah, authorities said.

The main portion of a thunderstorm crossed near the state park about 1:30 p.m. and was capable of producing nickel-sized hail, according to the National Weather Service.

Monday afternoon, three helicopters, along with multiple search and rescue teams were actively searching for individuals in Little Wildhorse Canyon after the isolated thunderstorm caused the flash flooding, according to a news release from the Emery County Sheriff’s Office.

By Tuesday, 67 personnel had searched for the missing 3-year-old, according to a statement from sheriff's office spokesperson Janalee Luke. A piece of clothing believed to belong to the young girl was found about 7 miles from a search and rescue crew staging area.

The young child's body was found by search crews on Tuesday, KSL TV’s Alex Cabrero reported.

At least 21 people made it safely out of the canyons. Authorities believe all people had been accounted for, according to Luke.

Authorities did not identify either of the girls who died.

Gov. Gary Herbert gave his condolences to the family in a statement.

“Utah mourns with the family and prays that they may be comforted in this heartbreaking time," he said.

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Lauren Bennett
Jacob Klopfenstein

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