Kentucky mother dies in Arizona canyon flash flood while hiking with family

A 43-year-old Louisville woman was hiking and boating in Labyrinth Canyon when a flash flood swept her away

Sheila Flynn
in Denver
Wednesday 04 August 2021 20:51
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A 43-year-old mother from Kentucky has been killed in a flash flood after hiking with her husband and sons in Labyrinth Canyon on the Arizona-Utah border.

Heather Rutledge, from Louisville, had rented a boat with her family and on Saturday afternoon were exploring the area on foot when they got caught in the flash flood, according to While her husband and sons survived, Ms Rutledge got caught up in the water. Her family was able to locate her and unsuccessfully attempt CPR, officials said.

They were unable to move her and made their way to the rental boat, which had been damaged by the flood, the site reported.

According to local reports, rescuers were unable to get kayaks into the mouth of the canyon and had to swim through the flood to locate Ms Rutledge.

Ms Rutledge’s body was turned over to the county medical examiner to determine the cause of death.

Labyrinth Canyon is a boat-accessed slot canyon located in Lake Powell. The mouth of the canyon is in Utah, but the rest is on the Arizona side of the state line.

The canyon, which is mostly managed in a joint effort by the US Bureau of Land Management and the Utah State Division of Lands and Forestry, is remote and wild. The land management site reports that visitors must obtain permits and “services are non-existent. Your group must be self-contained and self-reliant to deal with emergencies. Cell phone service is not available within the canyons”.

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