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UPDATE: Body of 3-year old flash flooding victim found near Goblin Valley

A search is underway in Little Wildhorse Canyon after a thunderstorm crossed the San Rafael Swell causing flash flooding in area slot canyons. (PHOTO: Emery County Sheriff’s Office)

UPDATE — The body of a 3-year-old girl was found on Tuesday after the flash flooding that quickly engulfed the slot canyons near Goblin Valley State Park on Monday.

The body of the child’s 7-year-old sister was found on Monday.

According to the Emery County Sheriff’s Department, crews searched until late Monday night and resumed this morning.  A piece of clothing believed to belong to the missing 3-year-old was found last night approximately 7 miles down a wash from the staging area.”

Flash flooding danger

Joe Dougherty, with the Utah Department of Public Safety, says weather conditions can change in the blink of an eye. 

“All we know is that we had a very quick rainstorm that quickly turned deadly,” he explains.

“People from the Bureau of Land Management, State Parks, Division of Wildlife Resources and Highway Patrol are helping,” says Dougherty. “The DPS helicopter has been out there, as well as two helicopters from Classic Air in Moab. There are a lot of people doing their very best to try and bring some sense of recovery to the people who have experienced this tragedy.”

“There were at least 11 cars that were there,” he says. “We know that 21 people have made it out of the canyon. So we know that there have been a lot of people reported safe.”

Ominous storm 

The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City tweeted that part of the storm is capable of “nickel-sized hail and strong winds.” They say that pattern crossed directly over Goblin Valley State Park.

Robert Bella-Smuts took a video of how rapidly the water was moving through the canyon. 

Governor Gary Herbert also took time Monday to address the flash flooding.