Rescue video captures Florida man saved from flooded southwest canyon, 2 friends killed identified
March 19, 2023 at 16:54
Video from the Utah Department of Public Safety shows the moments one Florida man was pulled from a flooded slot canyon near the Utah-Arizona border where his two friends lost their lives.
The Kane County Sheriff's Office said Ed Smith, Jeff Watson and Bill Romaniello set out for a 45-mile hike on March 10 in the Buckskin Gulch, the longest slot canyon in North America.
"When they had not contacted their families by Monday morning, one of their wives called to report them overdue," a press release read.
Kane County Sheriff's Search and Rescue personnel began preparing for a response to the area.
The Utah DPS helicopter was requested out of St. George, and a second with hoisting capabilities was dispatched out of Salt Lake City.
The helicopters arrived a little after noon and started searching the canyon.
A responder was lowered into the canyon to hoist Smith out.
He was extremely cold and weak but was able to say Saturday morning his group was hit by a flash flood that carried them downstream.
Smith and Watson were able to regroup and search for Romaniello but separated due to Watson dealing with a leg injury.
HIKER DIES ON ARCHES NATIONAL PARK TRAIL IN UTAH, SECOND DEATH WITHIN A MONTHCrews found Romaniello's body on March 13.
The trio worked together at the Orthopedic Medical Group of Tampa Bay, according to the business' website.
Watson was an orthopedic surgeon, and Romaniello was director of sports medicine.