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Body Found in Zion National Park

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avatar Body Found in Zion National Park
April 27, 2010 11:42AM
Body Found in Zion National Park
Date: April 26, 2010
Contact: Ron Terry, 435-772-0160

The body of a male was found in the North Fork of the Virgin River near the Gateway to the Zion Narrows at approximately 9 a.m. on Monday, April 26, 2010. Park Rangers were immediately dispatched to the location. The identity of the man is not yet known.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office was notified and a medical examiner and investigator were dispatched to the scene. It is standard procedure that the Sheriff’s Office, in cooperation with the National Park Service, investigates all fatalities in the park.

At the time of the body discovery, a search and rescue operation was in progress searching for two men in the Zion Narrows. On Sunday morning, the National Park Service received notification from a family member that the two men had planned to float through The Narrows on a raft and were overdue from their expected Saturday afternoon completion time.

A search was launched including both a helicopter and ground searchers. The men were not located on Sunday. The search continues on Monday using helicopters and ground searchers. While the search and body recovery are in progress, the Riverside Walk and Zion Narrows are closed to public entry.

Additional information will be released as it becomes available.
avatar Searchers Find Second Body in Zion National Park
April 27, 2010 11:43AM
Searchers Find Second Body in Zion National Park
Date: April 27, 2010
Contact: Ron Terry, 435-772-0160

The body of a second man was found in Zion National Park at approximately 1:40 p.m. on Monday, April 26, 2010. Searchers found the body in the North Fork of the Virgin River near the Big Bend Shuttle Stop in Zion Canyon. The first body was discovered earlier in the day in the river near the Gateway to the Narrows. The bodies were determined to be those of two overdue rafters the National Park Service had been searching for since Sunday. The names of the two men will not be released until all family members have been notified.

A search for the men began on Sunday, when they were reported overdue from a trip through the Zion Narrows. It was reported that their intent was to hike to the confluence with Deep Creek, construct a log raft, and float through The Narrows. They were planning to finish the 47-50 mile trip on Saturday afternoon in Hurricane, Utah.

At the time, the North Fork of the Virgin River was running about 250 cubic feet per second and the water temperature was around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. They had no cold water gear or personal flotation devices and little food. They did not check in with park rangers before the trip and if they had, would not have received a permit due to inappropriate planning and lack of personal safety equipment.

Both fatalities are being investigated by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in cooperation with the National Park Service. This is standard procedure in the case of fatalities in the park.

All areas of Zion Canyon that were temporarily closed during the search and body recoveries have now been reopened to the public.
avatar Bodies Found in Zion Identified
April 28, 2010 01:25PM
Bodies Found in Zion Identified
Date: April 28, 2010
Contact: Ron Terry, 435-772-0160

The two men whose bodies were located in Zion National Park on Monday, April 26, 2010 have been identified and family members notified. The two victims were Daniel Chidester, 23, and Jesse Scaffidi, 23, both from Las Vegas, Nevada.

They were the same men who had been reported as overdue from an attempted raft trip through the Zion Narrows in high and cold water conditions. The National Park Service launched a search on Sunday, April 25, when the report was received. The first body was found in the North Fork of the Virgin River near the Gateway to the Narrows on Monday morning and the second, about two miles downstream on Monday afternoon.

The National Park Service reminds visitors that all watercraft use in the park requires a backcountry permit. Trips through the Zion Narrows should only be attempted by expert paddlers. Permits and current river conditions can be obtained at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center backcountry desk. Visitor Center hours are currently 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
avatar Two Rafters Drown In Virgin River
April 30, 2010 01:09PM
Zion National Park (UT)
Two Rafters Drown In Virgin River

On Sunday, April 25th, rangers received a report of an overdue party from a float trip down though the Virgin River Narrows. Investigation revealed that two 23-year-old men from Las Vegas had hiked into the Narrows with the intent of constructing a log raft and floating approximately 50 miles through the Narrows to Hurricane, Utah. The men were not equipped with wetsuits or PFDs, did not have whitewater rafting experience, and had limited camping experience, little food and no overnight gear. They told their father that they intended to record their entire trip on video camera as an entry into the “Man vs. Wild” competition. The SAR operation concluded on April 26th when both bodies and a small amount of personal gear were recovered from the river.
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