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Tourists hoisted by helicopter to safety after flooding at Capitol Reef National Park

Posted at 12:53 PM, Jun 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-24 00:16:02-04

TORREY, Utah  — A Flash Flood Warning was issued Thursday for Capitol Reef National Park and surrounding areas, forcing the closure of the park's Scenic Drive south of the Fruita Campground.

In an update Thursday evening, The Wayne County Sheriff's Office shared that six people had to be hoisted out of the area by helicopter after being stranded by the floods.

Video below from Mike McPharlin shows rushing water at Capitol Reef National Park during Thursday's storms

Raging waters seen at Capitol Reef National Park

State Road 24 flooded and was deemed impassable near mile marker 83 just east of the visitor center. All washes from Sulphur Creek to Sheets Gulch were closed as well due to the dangerous conditions.

Some park rangers were stranded while they tried to get people out of the wash and to safety, however they were able to find higher ground, the sheriff's office reported.

The Department of Safety helicopter was sent to the area to fly over and help get people out of flooded areas, "since there was an excessive number of visitors in the park, and the flooding was so severe," officials explained.

Crew were able to make contact with people who were stranded and hoist six of them to a parking area where 60 other people were gathered.

Utah Department of Transportation crews and park rangers worked to clear roads in the area, allowing the dozens of people to be shuttled to lodging in surrounding motels.

Luckily, the only injuries that were reported were minor cuts and bruises, officials report.
About seven or eight disabled vehicles are stuck in the flooded areas, which officials are working to get out.

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The flood warning also reached to places in Teasdale, Torrey, and Grover, Utah and remained in effect until 5:00 p.m. Thursday.