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Man Lost 2 Wives in Utah Flood

At least 16 people found dead, with 4 still missing
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2015 6:13 AM CDT
Man Lost 2 Wives in Utah Flood
A woman looks at a damaged vehicle swept away during a flash flood Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015, in Hildale, Utah.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Twelve of the 16 people reported missing when a wall of water washed away two cars in Utah have now been found dead, authorities say. Three survived and one remains missing in Hildale—home of the Warren Jeffs polygamist sect. Three sisters, Della Johnson and Naomi and Josephine Jessop, are among the dead and the latter two were married to the same man, Joseph N. Jessop, he tells the Salt Lake Tribune. The remaining victims of what is thought to be the deadliest single weather event in the state, all children aged 4 to perhaps their early teens, have not been identified, reports the Spectrum. Elsewhere, at least four others, aged 40 to 50, were killed while canyoneering in Zion National Park's Keyhole Canyon, CNN reports. Three from the group are missing.

The Hildale victims had been watching the flooding from a park which sits in a canyon, the mayor says. On their way home, they came across a flooded wash—connected to the Short Creek Wash, which serves as a drainage ditch—and exited their vehicles to get a better look. Suddenly, "a huge flow of debris and water … came onto the street behind them and washed them into the ravine, and the dropoff there is 20, 30 feet. So the witnesses say the vehicles were just gone," the mayor says, per CNN. A witness adds the water rose seven feet in 30 seconds. "It was a wall," he says. "It was boom, boom, boom." The victims' bodies were found two to seven miles away, some with only hands or feet sticking out of the muddy river bank. Rescuers say the search for the last missing person, a boy, will continue today. (More Utah stories.)

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