Kane County, Utah officials have released more information about the search and rescue of a hiker who went missing in Buckskin Gulch this week. This includes the identities of his two hikers who died.
One of the deceased hikers, Bill Romaniello, was an athletic trainer and director of business development and sports medicine for the Orthopedic Medical Group in Tampa Bay. According to the Tampa Bay TimesHe also served as an athletic trainer for the Jesuit High School.
Jeff Watson, another deceased hiker, was a partner in the practice of the Orthopedic Medical Group, The Tampa Bay Times reported. Khanna was the CEO of a global cannabis industry consulting business.
A press release from the Kane County Sheriff’s Office said Romaniello had hiked the 45-mile hike from Wire Pass to Leeds Ferry since March 10 with two men, Ed Smith and Watson. increase.
Just before 9am on Monday, local authorities were called after the man had not returned at the scheduled time. Kane County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel began a search of the wilderness areas of Paria Canyon and Vermilion Cliffs, and two Utah Department of Public Safety helicopters were dispatched.
Around the time the climber went missing, the area was hit by bad weather, including rain. Eventually, a first responder was able to locate one of the hikers in his gulch, Buckskin His Canyon, the longest slot his canyon in North America.
According to the sheriff’s office, it is a “very popular” place for hiking, with thousands of people visiting the canyon each year.
At about 5 p.m. Monday, Public Safety detected Smith with an infrared camera and lowered responders into the canyon to locate him and lift him out of the canyon to be treated by medical staff. Smith said the group was hit by a flash flood Saturday morning and was carried downstream.
Flooding was a concern in the area due to the large amount of melted snowpack.
Smith and Watson managed to escape the flood, but were unable to find Romaniello. Watson injured his leg, so Smith went to get help.
“Mr. Smith was very cold and weak,” the sheriff’s office said. “After conducting a brief interview, he was taken to the hospital by medical helicopter.”
“During the night, a search party found Bill Romaniero’s body in a canyon near Middle Route,” the sheriff’s office said.
While search and rescue teams were working, Kane County received another distress call around Buckskin Gulch. Public safety officials were able to locate a group who were too exhausted to continue due to weather conditions, and they pulled six people from the group out of the canyon. Another group of four of her who were there also helped.
By 4 a.m. Tuesday, the crew continued to search for the missing hikers, working “in dangerous conditions” and “facing frigid neck-deep puddles and waist-deep quicksand.”
“While searching for a distress call, they encountered a lone hiker a few miles beyond Arizona. They landed and spoke to him, who said he passed a man who died Monday.” A deputy of Coconino County, Arizona, contacted the lone hiker when he finished hiking on the Lees Ferry and asked for more information. was able to obtain
Heavy rains hit the area Wednesday morning, but crews resumed their search by that afternoon. Using information from hikers, they were able to locate the deceased individual about 3.5 miles in Arizona.
The rescue team confirmed it was Watson.
“They were able to lift Watson out of the canyon and he was found in Arizona and has been turned over to the Coconino County coroner’s office for investigation,” a Kane County press release said.
Kane County law enforcement encourages hikers to be aware of and prepare for weather conditions before heading to Buckskin Gulch.
“Both men were pillars of the community and caused great loss to the healthcare sector in which they worked,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.