September 29, 2014
David Eaker, 435-772-7811
Roy O"Neal, 435-772-7823
The name of the hiker's body that was found by park rangers yesterday in the Zion Canyon Narrows in Zion National Park has been identified as Douglas Yoshi Vo, 34, of Westminster, California. Vo and a companion had attempted a hike in the Zion Canyon Narrows on Saturday morning, September 27, when they encountered a flash flood. The companion was able to make it out of the canyon. But Vo was trapped on high ground by the flood.
Vo and another male companion had entered the Narrows from the Riverside Walk Trail early Saturday morning, September 27. At that time, the river was running at approximately 46 cubic feet per second (CFS). At around 9:30 a.m. rain began to fall and the pair decided to end their hike and go back down the Narrows to the Riverside Walk Trail. During their walk out, the river started rising rapidly and quickly reached flash flood levels, peaking at 4,020 CFS. The two hikers became stranded on high ground, but on opposite sides of the river. They could not communicate due to the noise from the river. They waited from around 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. for the water to recede, but it was still too high for them to hike out. At that time, Vo's companion decided to try to exit the Narrows to the Riverside Walk Trail by swimming down the flooding river. Vo remained safe on high ground on the opposite side of the river. Vo's companion who entered the river safely made it out and contacted a park ranger at approximately 6:30 p.m. He informed park rangers that Vo was still stranded on high ground, but was not injured or in distress. Rangers arrived at the Narrows, but the river was still flowing at approximately 1,000 –1,500 CFS which is too high for them to safely enter the river from downstream. They determined that the best course of action was to wait until Sunday morning when the river had receded to a safe level and rescue the overdue hiker, who was assumed to be safe on high ground and not injured as reported by his companion. Hikers are not allowed up the Narrows if stream flow exceeds 150 CFS.
Sunday morning, September 28, a ranger rescue team was notified by Vo's companion that he had hiked into the Narrows earlier that morning but could not locate Vo at the point last seen. The rescue effort then turned into a search. Vo's body was found by the search team at approximately 2 p.m. along the bank of the Virgin River near the Riverside Walk.