September 16, 2015
Contact: David Eaker
Contact: Holly Baker
Springdale, UT- Search efforts continued all day Wednesday, September 16, 2015 to locate individuals who have been missing since a flash flood occurred Monday in Zion National Park's Keyhole Canyon. The bodies of two additional individuals were located Wednesday, bringing the total number of confirmed fatalities in this incident to six. One individual is still missing.
Over 60 searchers from multiple agencies have contributed over 640 hours in their efforts to find the missing people. Agencies assisting Zion National Park include Washington County Search and Rescue, Kane County Search and Rescue, Sanpete County Search and Rescue, Washington County Deputies, Rocky Mountain Canine Unit, Town of Springdale, Rockville-Springdale Fire Protection District, the Color Country Interagency Fire Center, Bryce Canyon National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Grand Canyon National Park, and Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument. "We appreciate the tremendous multi-agency response from local and regional emergency services agencies," said park superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh. "Together, we have been able to quickly implement an effective and efficient search operation."
On Monday, September 14, 2015, rangers received a report of a group of seven individuals canyoneering in Keyhole Canyon shortly before the area flooded. Zion recorded 0.63 inches of rain and the North Fork of the Virgin River rose from 55 cubic feet per second to 2,630 cubic feet per second in 15 minutes. Extensive search efforts were not possible during the flooding or while the threat of flooding was still present. Four bodies were located Tuesday while searching the area of Keyhole Canyon and downstream.
The names of individuals will not be released until the families have been notified. Search efforts for the remaining canyoneer will begin again Thursday at first light. Superintendent Bradybaugh noted that "Our focus is upon the victim's families, to support them at this difficult time with compassion and respect."