The Latest: Rangers: 7 hikers warned before flash flooding

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Posted: Sep 16, 2015 1:32 PM
The Latest: Rangers: 7 hikers warned before flash flooding

HILDALE, Utah (AP) — The latest on the deadly flash flooding to hit the Utah-Arizona border region (all times local):

11:30 a.m.

Rangers say at least four hikers killed in flash flooding in Utah's Zion National Park were told about the danger before they entered a narrow slot canyon, but there was no way to warn them once the fast-moving waters began to rise.

Park Ranger Therese Picard said Wednesday that while rangers ask detailed questions and give several weather warnings before handing out permits, they don't judge visitors' technical ability and let them decide whether to go.

She says the group was told Monday morning that flash-flood danger was probable, a warning that rangers give almost every day during monsoon season.

Crews are still searching for three people but haven't been able to reach the canyon as flooding danger persists.

The deaths came after 12 people died when floodwaters Monday swept away two vehicles on the Utah-Arizona border, about 20 miles south of the park.

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10:22 a.m.

Officials at Utah's Zion National Park say a group of hikers reported to rangers that seven people they passed in a narrow slot canyon just before a flash flood may have been caught in the fast-moving waters.

The park said in a news release and press conference Wednesday that searchers are still looking for three missing from the seven-person group after the bodies of three men and one woman were found Tuesday.

Officials say the group got a permit to hike the small Keyhole Canyon at 7:40 a.m. Monday before canyons were closed due to flood warnings issued at 2:22 p.m. Six of the hikers were from California and one from Nevada and all in their 40s and 50s.

The deaths came after 12 people died when fast-moving floodwaters on Monday swept away two vehicles on the Utah-Arizona border, about 20 miles south of the park.

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9:45 a.m.

Officials at Zion National Park in southern Utah are expected to speak to reporters Wednesday about four hikers found dead and three still missing after heavy rains sent flash floods coursing through a narrow slot canyon.

Authorities say the group of seven people from California and Nevada in their 40s and 50s set out to hike the small Keyhole Canyon on Monday, before park officials closed slot canyons due to flooding that evening.

The bodies of three men and one woman were found Tuesday, though continued danger of flash floods prevented crews from immediately recovering them.

The deaths came after 12 people died when fast-moving floodwaters on Monday swept away two vehicles on the Utah-Arizona border, about 20 miles south of the park.

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7 a.m.

Authorities are searching for four people still missing after flash flooding killed 12 people in a Utah-Arizona border community and four others in nearby Zion National Park.

The flooding hit Monday evening and washed away a van and SUV carrying three women and 13 children in a small, polygamous town on the Utah-Arizona border.

Three people survived, 12 were confirmed dead and crews are searching for the 16th person.

Some 20 miles to the north at Zion National Park, the same storm system sent flash floods coursing through a narrow slot canyon, killing four people and leaving three others missing.