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Body of Stranded Hiker Found in Zion Narrows

September 29
11:58 2014

Zion LogoThe body of a 34 year old male hiker was found Sunday by park rangers in the Virgin River Narrows in Zion National Park.  The deceased was identified as Douglas Yoshi Vo, 34, of Westminster, California.

Vo and another male companion had entered the Narrows from the Riverside Walk Trail early Saturday morning.  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.  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 rushing water. 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 friend decided to try to exit the Narrows to the Riverside Walk Trail by swimming down the flooding river, while Vo remained safe on high ground on the opposite side of the river.

The hiker safely made it out and contacted a park ranger at approximately 6:30 Monday evening. He informed park rangers that his companion was still stranded on high ground, but was not injured or in distress. Rangers arrived at the Narrows, but the river was still flowing too high for them to safely enter the river from downstream.

They determined that the best course of action was to wait until morning when the river had receded to a safe level and rescue the hiker, who was evidently safe on high ground and not injured.

Sunday morning, a ranger rescue team was notified by the overdue Vo’s companion that he had hiked into the Narrows earlier in the morning but could not locate his partner at the point last seen.  The rescue effort then turned into a search. Mr. Vo’s body was found by the search team at approximately 2 p.m. Sunday along the bank of the Virgin River near the Riverside Walk.

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