Friends remember victims killed in flash flood at Zion National Park

Posted at 7:19 PM, Sep 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-17 21:19:20-04

ZION NATIONAL PARK, Utah  – The search for seven hikers who got caught in flash floods at Zion National Park is over, as crews recovered the body of the last person Thursday morning, Linda Arthur of California.

Linda, her husband Steve, and five other hikers went canyoneering in Keyhole Canyon Monday when the rushing waters overtook them.

Colleagues of Steve Arthur took the news hard.

“It's tragic, it's tragic all around,” said Capt. John Reilly with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

Steve Arthur, 58, served as a Sergeant for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office for nearly two decades.

“He was a school resource officer for many years," Reilly said. "The kind of guy that kids would call off hours, and kids' parents. He would drop what he was doing and go out to help them. He always had a smile on his face. Everybody loved him."

When Arthur wasn’t working, he was exploring.

“He loved the outdoors, so it wasn't unusual that he was out hiking," Reilly said. "That's what he did. When he wasn't here, he was in the Sierras. He was always outdoors."

Steve and Linda trained for the hike in Keyhole Canyon, which is a short, narrow slot canyon known for beginners. Rangers say there are steep descents on the course, and there are spots where canyoneers end up in pools of water.

The group received a permit Monday morning, hours before the storm hit. Later that afternoon, warnings were issued and rangers closed the park.

“For folks that have already started their trip, trying to get word to them and also having multiple canyons within this park, it is not possible to contact everybody," said Therese Picard, a Zion National Park Ranger.

Searchers found the first body near the mouth of the canyon Tuesday afternoon and soon after, another body.

Wednesday, crews discovered Arthur’s body.

Friends are remembering his can-do spirit, and willingness to serve others.

“Sgt. Arthur was a really good guy," Reilly said. "He was one of those guys that everybody really liked."

Steve and Linda Arthur leave behind three children and seven grandchildren.

Rangers are not releasing the names of the other victims until their families are notified.