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In what had become a grim recovery effort, a multiagency search late Thursday morning found the last of seven people killed in a flash flood earlier this week at Zion National Park.
Their identities were released late Thursday by park personnel. Six of them were from California: Mark MacKenzie, 56, of Valencia; Linda Arthur, 57, and her husband, Steve Arthur, 58, of Camarillo; Muku Reynolds, 59, of Chino; Robin Brum, 53, of Camarillo; and Gary Favela, 51, of Rancho Cucamonga.
The seventh victim who died in Monday's Keyhole Canyon tragedy was Don Teichner, 55, of Mesquite, Nev.
In a news release, Zion Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh extended sympathies to everyone affected by the flash flooding.
"We have witnessed an incredible community of the family members and friends of the canyoneers come together to support one another," Bradybaugh said.
The release added that the families extend their gratitude to the search-and-rescue crews and "have also requested privacy during this difficult time."
The Ventura County Sheriff's Department earlier had confirmed that Steve Arthur, a sergeant with the department, and Linda Arthur were among the seven canyoneers who died in the southwestern Utah park's floodwaters. The California sheriff's office also said it was Linda Arthur mother of three and grandmother of seven who was the last person still missing when crews, aided by cadaver dogs, returned to search downstream of Keyhole at dawn Thursday.
Park spokesman David Eaker said the seventh victim, Linda Arthur, was located in the Pine Creek area. The fifth and sixth bodies also were recovered from the Pine Creek drainage Wednesday as searchers explored debris in the aftermath of the flooding, which came late Monday afternoon in wake of thunderstorms and heavy rains.
The same storm unleashed a flash flood that washed away two vehicles, killing 13 women and children in Hildale. On Thursday, Gov. Gary Herbert ordered flags statewide to be lowered to half-staff in honor of the dead.
Dismissing Zion rangers' warnings that flash flooding was "probable" as storm clouds gathered Monday, the canyoneering group used their permit to explore Keyhole, a narrow slot canyon on the park's east side.
Park officials cannot legally bar anyone with a permit from going into the canyons, regardless of weather dangers.
Once the official National Weather Service flash flood warning for the park was issued at 2:22 p.m. Monday, rangers closed all canyons and suspended issuing permits. However, the group was already in Keyhole by then.
At that point, it was too late to tell the group that flash flooding was imminent. With such a large park and small staff, rangers cannot alert everyone, and while hikers conceivably could receive weather alerts on their phones, cellular reception is poor in the park, Zion spokeswoman Aly Baltrus explained.
The group was last seen alive in the canyon when passed by other hikers, who then notified rangers that the seven may be in peril as the clouds burst about 4:30 p.m. Monday.
Within the next hour, nearly two-thirds of an inch of rain fell; park officials deemed the situation too dangerous for rangers to risk going into the then-inundated canyon.
The search began Tuesday morning, and the first four of the seven hikers' bodies were soon found and retrieved.
More than 60 search-and-rescue workers from multiple agencies including several national parks, the Rockville/Springdale Fire Department, and Washington, Kane and Sanpete counties were involved in recovery efforts.
Even in dry weather, the Keyhole hike is challenging, requiring visitors to complete several rappels of up to 30 feet each and swim through numerous pools of water.
Zion National Park has a tragic past of flooding-related tragedies. Last year, a hiker drowned in the Narrows; in 2001, a 10-year-old boy died when he was washed away on the Canyon Overlook trail; in 1998, two hikers drowned in the Narrows; in 1993, two Scout leaders died in a flash flood in Kolob Canyon; and, in 1961, four Boy Scouts and their leader were killed in the Narrows.
On Thursday, Andres Villanueva created a GoFundMe page for Favela's family under the hiker's full name, Raymond Gary Favela with a goal of raising $5,000 to assist with funeral expenses.
"This whole situation is hard for all of us to grasp because of how sudden and unexpected it came about," Villanueva wrote. "Gary was a good man who always had a smile on his face, which makes this so much more heartbreaking. We are asking for two things. Prayer and financial assistance."
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Reporter Pamela Manson contributed to this story.