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Deceased UT - Bill Romaniello & Jeff Watson, deceased; Ed Smith rescued; many casualties in Buckskin Gulch; Mar 2023

Breaking Trail

This case was called in on Monday, March 13. Today is Wednesday.

Best to have MSM summarize:

KANE COUNTY, Utah — Search and rescue efforts are underway in Buckskin Gulch in Kane County for two missing hikers, who were reported being overdue Monday around noon.

According to Kane County Sheriff Tracy Glover, rescue crews have worked through the night and into Tuesday. Originally, there was a report of three missing hikers. However, rescue crews located one of the hikers, who was transported by helicopter to an area hospital.

Glover was unsure of the condition of the hiker.

Additionally, Glover also says rescue crews also came across other individuals, who were in need of assistance. He said most of the individuals were cold and were likely experiencing mild symptoms of hyperthermia.

Glover says flood waters have come down off the early spring runoff that has complicated the conditions in the bottom of the slot canyon.

“It’s made it difficult to get through there,” he said.

Glover said additional rain is expected in the area this evening and into Wednesday.



For Real
This is an evolving story, with a lot of MSM coverage. This set of details seems to be pretty complete, and helicopter footage!

Evidently, the helicopter picked up a total of 12 hikers stranded in the canyon, and 2 were still missing as of Tuesday evening.
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For Real
This all started to make more sense after I saw this article. It has some on-the-scene information from hikers and guides.

—most guides are not shuttling to the Wire Canyon trailhead (where the deceaseds' groups started), because it's too dangerous. There's only one way out, and it's many miles along.
—the fellas were doing a "thru hike" along Buckskin Gulch from Wire Canyon to Lees Ferry; a guide service shuttled them to the Wire Canyon trailhead.
—the hike is something like 50 miles; sometimes swimming is required; you can't climb out of the canyon for miles


Naughty Pine

Hangin' Out


In the Groove
This article does a more thorough job of explaining the SAR missions on this case, per the Sheriff of Kane County:

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In the Groove
It seems they have found the body of the remaining hiker of the three who were traveling together. Strangely, it was about 6 miles away, in Arizona.

Sadly, it seems like the injured man tried to self-rescue and was swept away downstream. I’m sure we’ll never know. If he had stayed where his friend left him, I believe he would have been safely rescued, but it’s so hard just to stay put and wait. When the floodwaters subsided, he may have tried to get out and was overcome.