A woman was found dead Wednesday, and her husband — who was rescued — reported that the couple suffered hypothermia while on a hiking trip in Zion National Park in Utah, officials said. The two were discovered Wednesday morning by visitors in the Narrows — a gorge considered to be the narrowest section of Zion Canyon, the National Park Service said in a news release Thursday. The 31-year-old woman died on scene, the park service said, while her 33-year-old husband was taken to the Zion Emergency Operations Center for treatment. No names were provided. The couple had set out Tuesday on a permitted 16-mile hike, but overnight, they became "dangerously cold and experienced symptoms consistent with hypothermia," the park service said.
The husband told park rangers that, in the early morning hours Wednesday, the couple came to a stop about one-and-a-half miles from the north end of Riverside Walk, a paved trail which runs from the Temple of Sinawava to the Narrows. The husband went on to get help, while his wife stayed behind, the park service said. The visitors who came upon the man helped get him down the trail, while others went to his wife and administered CPR until search and rescue personnel arrived on scene. Along with the park service, the Washington County Sheriff's Office and the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner are investigating the woman's death. The Narrows is one of the most popular areas in Zion, according to the park service. However, hiking it requires people to walk in the Virgin River, which in some places is only 20 to 30 feet wide. Depending on the time of year, the park service explains on its website, the Virgin River can "range from ankle deep to full swims." "Flash flooding and hypothermia are constant dangers," the park service writes. Hikers are not allowed to undertake the 16-mile Virgin River hike without a wilderness permit.