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Flash Flood Kills Six Southern Californians In Utah's Zion National Park

Self-portrait of the group. Photographed from left to right: Gary Favela, Don Teichner, Muku Reynolds, Steve Arthur, Linda Arthur, Robin Brum, and Mark MacKenzie. (Photo courtesy of National Park Service)
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A flash flood killed seven people in Utah's Zion National Park, including six hikers from Southern California.

The victims have now been identified as Ventura County Sheriff's Sgt. Steve Arthur, 58, and his wife, Linda Arthur, 57; Robin Brum, 53, from Camarillo; Muku Reynolds, 59, of Chino; Mark MacKenzie, 56, from Valencia; Gary Favela, 51, of Rancho Cucamonga; and Don Teichner, 55, from Nevada.

The group set out on Monday to traverse Keyhole Canyon—a narrow, winding passage through the national park—by hiking, rock climbing, rappelling and swimming through the canyon, reports the L.A. Times. While flash flood warnings for the area were issued by the National Weather Service around 2:20 p.m., and park authorities say the canyon areas were closed, witnesses say they saw the group head into the canyon sometime between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. As a rainstorm moved into the area, the narrow slot canyon quickly began to fill with water around 5:30 p.m. According to park officials, what began as a trickle soon became more like a river, shifting from 55 cubic feet of water per second to 2,630 cubic feet per second in only 15 minutes. Authorities now believe that the group was killed in the fast-moving floodwaters.

Crews began searching the area after hikers reported seeing the group heading into the canyons prior to the flood. But they were only able to find the group's vehicle and not the individuals, according to the Times. The search effort continued Tuesday, which is when authorities began to find the bodies of the victims. The bodies of Steve Arthur, Favela, Reynolds and Teichner were found that day, while Brum and MacKenzie were discovered on Wednesday. Linda Arthur's body was found on Thursday when waters subsided in Pine Creek Canyon.

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"Our heartfelt sympathies go out to those affected by the flash flooding in Keyhole Canyon," National Park Service Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh said in a statement. "We have witnessed an incredible community of family members and friends of the canyoneers come together to support one another. The canyoneers along with their families and friends are in our thoughts."