Authorities Recover Body Of Victim In Utah Flash Floods
Updated at 11:30 a.m. ET on Sept. 18
Search and rescue teams in Arizona have recovered the body of a man missing amid flash floods in Utah.
The Mohave County (Ariz.) Sheriff's Office said in a statement that 33-year-old Ryan Mertlich was found Thursday afternoon nearly 7 miles from the Utah state line and about 6 miles from where searchers found his empty car on Wednesday. Authorities confirmed that Mertlich's death was flood-related.
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A missing man's car was found Wednesday, badly battered, in a flood plain that had been hit by a flash flood. Police in Hurricane, Utah, say Ryan Mertlich may be yet another casualty of severe flooding that is known to have claimed more than a dozen lives.
NPR's Howard Berkes reports for the Newscast desk:
"Searchers in Mohave County, Arizona, discovered the Geo Tracker belonging to Ryan Mertlich of Hurricane, Utah, in a dry wash that had carried a flash flood. But there's no sign of Mertlich, who typically travels the remote dirt roads of what is known as the Arizona Strip. A spokeswoman for the Mohave County sheriff says it's obvious that Mertlich's car was carried by a flash flood.
"The area is close to the Utah border about 15 miles west of Hildale, where a different flash flood Monday killed 12 people and left one missing. It's also far from Zion National Park, where seven hikers died in yet another flash flood."
Mohave County Arizona search teams were on the ground today looking for signs of the man, and Howard says, the search will continue tomorrow.
Mertlich was reported missing on Tuesday after leaving Washington, Utah, and heading home on the remote dirt roads, which he knew well.
Earlier this week, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox called the floods "one of the worst weather-related disasters in the history of the state of Utah."
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