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2 People Still Unaccounted For In Utah Floods

Crews continue to search for two people who have been missing since Monday when two separate flash floods swept through parts of southern Utah and killed more than a dozen people.

The two missing include an adult hiker and a 6-year-old boy.

Searchers recovered two bodies in Zion National Park on Wednesday and continued to search for a missing hiker there.

In nearby Hildale, Utah, Mayor Phillip Barlow named the missing six-year-old as Tyson Lewis Black.

As we reported Tuesday, Hildale is located along the Utah-Arizona border and was the site of one of the fatal flood that engulfed two vehicles carrying three adult sisters and their 13 children.

Three of the children survived, and one was transported to a hospital Monday.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

"The Utah National Guard and law enforcement on Wednesday resumed searching for the last known victim of a flash flood that tore through this polygamous border town home to followers of Warren Jeffs, leaving 13 dead and three injured, all of them women and children.

"The search resumed along the 6-mile stretch of the Short Creek Wash, where the bodies of 12 others were found on Tuesday, said Brian Anderton, of the Salt Lake Regional Incident Management team.

" 'They're in recovery mode,' Anderton said.


"Among the dead were sisters: Della Johnson and Naomi and Josephine Jessop. The children have not yet been identified by Hildale community leaders or police."

Their SUV and van were swept away when a waterway that is normally dry was overwhelmed by a wall of water from heavy storms.

In Zion National Park, runoff from heavy rain transformed the Virgin River from a relatively mild stream to a raging river in just 15 minutes, according to NPR's Howard Berkes and streamflow data provided by the National Park Service.

Howard reported in NPR newscasts that:

"Officials in Hildale, Utah, say the area affected by the flash flood there extends more than 7 miles. The victims include three sisters and most of their children. Mayor Philip Barlow says the casualties serve as a wake-up call and reality check for a community accustomed to flash floods. In Zion National Park, rangers are searching for the missing there in drainages downstream of Keyhole Canyon. The Park Service says the flood was fueled by more than a half-inch of rain in less than an hour. That produced a 47-fold increase in the flow and volume of the park's Virgin River in just 15 minutes."

Park officials say seven hikers were canyoneering in a narrow and short slot canyon called Keyhole when they were hit by floodwater.

Six of the hikers are confirmed dead.

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Brakkton Booker is a National Desk reporter based in Washington, DC.
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