6 people were killed after a flash flood engulfed a narrow gorge in the Kenyan national park that inspired ‘The Lion King’

kenya hells gate gorge

  • Flash floods engulfed a narrow gorge inside Hell’s Gate National Park in Kenya on Sunday.
  • The bodies of six people, who were part of a 13-person tour group, have been found so far. One tourist remains missing.
  • Hell’s Gate is home to deep gorges, cliffs, and three geothermal power stations.
  • It inspired the 1994 Disney animation “The Lion King,” and parts of the 2001 movie “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” was shot there.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Six people died after a flash flood engulfed a narrow gorge inside Kenya’s Hell’s Gate National Park on Sunday, authorities say.

The park, located about 62 miles northwest of the Kenya’s capital of Nairobi, is home to multiple deep gorges, cliffs, and three geothermal power stations.

The park is famous for having inspired the animators of Disney’s 1994 movie “The Lion King.” The 2001 film “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” starring Angelina Jolie, was also filmed there, according to Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper.

Sunday’s victims were part of a 13-person tour group, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported Monday. Seven of them were “swept away by the flash floods,” the Kenya Wildlife Service said Sunday, adding on Monday that one tourist remains missing.

The victims’ identities have not been revealed. Local government authorities said the seven people who were swept away consisted of six tourists and a local guide, while the KWS said all seven of them were tourists.

the lion king

The flash flooding was caused by a deluge of rain on Sunday. 

“Those swept away were two minors, two women, two men and the local guide,” Naivasha Sub-County Commissioner Mathioya Mbogo said Monday, according to Reuters.

All six tourists were Kenyan, the news agency cited Mbogo as saying.

The KWS said earlier that the tour group comprised five Kenyans, one local tour guide, and one foreign non-resident.

Two survivors from the tour group alerted park rangers of the missing people on Sunday, AFP reported.

Park officials found two bodies on Sunday, two overnight, and two more on Monday morning, the KWS said. Authorities believe they died by drowning.

Officials in Nairobi sent a helicopter to the park on Sunday to help with search efforts, CNN reported.

“The search and rescue operation continues as we reach out to next of kin to share details of sad incident and plan together next course of action,” the KWS said Monday.

kenya hells gate map

This is not the park’s first tragedy involving flash floods. In April 2012, seven members of a youth church group who had been trekking in the gorge died after being swept away by flash floods, the BBC reported at the time.

The KWS said it created “clearly marked emergency exists along the whole gorge as escape routes” shortly after the 2012 deaths.

The park’s tour guides are also trained to detect storm water flowing toward the gorge, as well as to point tourists toward exit points, the KWS said.

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