After torrential rains drenched southern Utah on Monday, four people who were canyoneering in Zion National Park have been pronounced dead, while three others remain missing reports Yahoo News.
The incident occurred as flood waters came rushing through what park officials refer to as “Keyhole Canyon” after .63 inches of rain fell in Zion Canyon in just one hour. The rains occurred between 4:30 and 5:30PM.
According to park officials, the group was warned about the danger of flash floods when they picked up their permit. Also, park rangers told the group that the weather was changing and conditions could deteriorate quickly making flash flooding a likely possibility. However, until canyons are closed, officials leave it up to visitors to take risk in their own hands.
The group was last seen an hour before the flood by another team who were headed out of the canyon.
Navigating the canyon typically takes around four hours and requires swimming, climbing, and rapelling skills.
“Today’s tragedy also serves as a reminder to residents and those visiting our state to take appropriate precautions and be aware of the factors that contribute to dangerous flash floods”– Utah Governor Gary Herbert