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Fatality on Lake Powell Over the Weekend

Fatality on Lake Powell Over the Weekend
August 03
16:05 2021

Fatality on Lake Powell Over the Weekend

Labyrinth Canyon (CCSO)

Page, AZ – July 31st, 2021, On Saturday, July 31st at 6:00 pm the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office and National Park Service (NPS) responded to Labyrinth Canyon on Lake Powell after receiving information of a possible flash flood drowning.

 

Deputies responding to the Labyrinth Canyon area were advised that a female, hiking with her family, had drowned as a result of flooding in the popular slot canyon. The Victim, Heather S. Rutledge a 43-year-old female out of Louisville, Ky., was hiking the Labyrinth Canyon with her husband and 3 sons at approximately 2 pm when she and her family were caught in a flash flood that ultimately drowned Mrs. Rutledge.

The husband and children were ultimately able to locate Heather and performed CPR but were unsuccessful.

Family members, unable to move Heather, had to make their way back to the boat they had rented and get help. Once back at the rental boat they discovered it had been damaged by the flash flood and was inoperable. A boater in the area was able to tow the boat out to the mouth of Labyrinth Canyon where contact was made with an NPS Boat.

NPS transported the Victims family back to Antelope Point Marina where rescuers were preparing to locate and recover Heather. Due to weather conditions, darkness, and the potential of another flash flood, recovery operations were put off until the next Morning, on Sunday August 1.

On the morning of the 1st, at 6:00 am, Coconino County Sheriff’s Deputies along with Rangers from NPS, drove by boat, to the area in Labyrinth Canyon that the victim and her family had stopped. Due to flood debris, rescuers could not use the kayaks to get up the rest of the canyon and had to swim through heavy canyon debris, to locate the deceased.

Once located, she was removed back to the boat and transported to Wahweap Marina where the Coconino County Medical Examiner took custody of the victim and transported back to Flagstaff.

Special thanks for the invaluable assistance from the National Park Service in this matter. Further investigation into this incident is being conducted by the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office and Coconino County Medical Examiner’s Office.

No further information is available currently.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office recommends knowing the forecast in and around the area when you are participating in recreational activities in canyon country. Flash Floods can start many miles up canyon from where you are recreating.

https://www.weather.gov/mob/Severe_Flood

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