• Mon. Mar 20th, 2023

Tampa Bay area surgeon, sports trainer killed in Utah canyon floods


Mar 17, 2023

A surgeon and athletic trainer who worked for a Tampa Bay orthopaedic medicine practice had been identified as the two hikers who died straight away following floodwaters surged by suggests of a narrow canyon in Utah final weekend.

Authorities on Thursday identified Dr. Jeffrey Watson and William “Bill” Romaniello as the two hikers whose bodies had been recovered this week straight away following they went missing when floodwaters tore by suggests of Buckskin Gulch, a slot canyon in southern Utah that is effectively recognized with hikers.

Every single males worked for the Orthopaedic Well being-connected Group of Tampa Bay, which has offices in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Polk counties.

Watson was an orthopaedic surgeon and companion at the practice, according to its net-website. He was also a co-owner of the Tampa Sports Academy, which offers person instruction, coaching and other options. And he was chief executive officer for Los Canna International, a enterprise that offers consulting and other options for the cannabis market place, his LinkedIn profile shows.

Dr. Jefferey Watson is pictured in a screenshot of his bio net web page on the online net web page of the Orthopaedic Well being-connected Group of Tampa Bay.

[ omgtb.com ]

Romaniello was an athletic trainer for Orthopaedic Well being-connected Group of Tampa Bay and served as the practice’s director of business enterprise enterprise improvement and sports medicine. He was also the head athletic trainer at Jesuit Greater College.

A third hiker with them who was rescued and survived, Ed Smith, is chief clinical officer for the practice.

“Tragedy has hit the practice, and it is with profound sadness that we share the loss of Dr. Jeffrey Watson and William Romaniello, ATC, two pillars of the practice that leave an outstanding legacy and monumental void in the hearts of certainly every person that knew them,” according to a brief statement posted on the practice’s Facebook net web page on Thursday.

The statement asked for privacy for the men’s households. A specific individual who answered the phone at the practice on Friday stated representatives had no a lot more comment.

William “Bill” Romaniello is pictured in a screenshot of his bio net web page from the Orthopaedic Well being-connected Group of Tampa Bay precisely exactly where he was an athletic trainer and director of business enterprise enterprise improvement and sports medicine.

[ omgtb.com ]

The Kane County Sheriff’s Workplace on Thursday released the names of the three males and in a news released supplied significantly a lot more particulars about the search and rescue efforts.

The males had been arranging to hike from Wire’s Pass to Lee’s Ferry, a tough 45-mile trek by suggests of rugged canyon land. The route would take them by suggests of Buckskin Gulch, the longest slot canyon in North America. They started Friday and had been arranging to arrive in Lee’s Ferry on Sunday.

When the males had not contacted their households by Monday morning, a single of their wives reported them overdue. Authorities launched a search, dispatching at least two helicopters to the area.

About 5 p.m. Monday, a Utah Division of Public Safety helicopter spotted a specific individual with an infrared camera. A crew member lowered into the canyon confirmed the man was Smith. He was “extremely cold and weak,” the news release stated.

Videos released by the Utah Division of Public Safety show the helicopter crew spotting Smith, who was lying on his back on the canyon floor and waving his arms, and then hoisting him into the chopper. He was taken to a hospital for remedy.

Smith told authorities that the group was hit by a flash flood on Saturday morning and carried downstream. Smith stated he and Watson had been capable to expense-totally free themselves from the floodwaters and regroup. They searched for Romaniello but had been unable to uncover him so they continued downstream to get help.

Watson had a leg injury and was unable to continue.

“After acquiring Jeff situated, Ed continued to seem for help,” the news release stated.

Kane County Search and Rescue crews who entered Buckskin Gulch at the Middle Route Trail access area positioned Romaniello’s physique in the canyon Monday evening and continued to search for Watson till early Tuesday morning. The teams faced neck-deep frigid pools of water and waist-deep quicksand, according to the news release.

Later on Tuesday, authorities received a distress speak to from a additional group of hikers. Even even though hunting for these hikers, crews encountered a specific individual who stated he’d passed a dead physique on Monday and supplied some info and details on the spot. Crews had been unable to uncover the physique the subsequent day and heavy rains in the area delayed delayed search efforts.

Later Wednesday, searchers positioned Watson’s physique about 3 miles into Arizona.

“Our hearts pour out to the Romaniello and Watson households for their loss,” the sheriff’s workplace news release stated. “Both males had been pillars in their neighborhood and a massive loss to the healthcare field precisely exactly where they worked.”

In this file photo from 2016, hikers are observed the narrows of Buckskin Gulch in Kane County, Utah.


Romaniello, a Connecticut native, graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in Sports Science in 1991, according to the Orthopaedic Well being-connected Group of Tampa Bay’s online net web page. He spent his profession as a trainer, educator and rehabilitator. He joined the Well being-connected Group in 2015 and constructed a sports medicine strategy that treats men and women at regional sporting events. He became the head athletic trainer of Jesuit Greater in 2017, the school’s net-website shows.

Outdoors of function, Romaniello enjoyed spending time with his loved ones, watching sports and playing golf, his profile stated. He was a father of three, Jesuit’s net-website stated.

“Bill was devoted to his passion in life which was assisting other people today all via his profession in the athletic instruction field,” a GoFundMe net web page raising money for Romaniello’s funeral stated.

The GoFundMe described him as a “loved father, son brother and ‘pop-pop.’”

”He continuously stood for carrying out what’s appropriate, seriously tough function, loved ones initial, and assisting other people today with no them asking for it,” Romaniello’s stepson Joshua Clark stated in a public Facebook post.

Watson was a top graduate from his squadron at the United States Air Force Academy and served six years in the Air Force, according to many on the net biographies. Following finishing his surgical instruction, he was assigned to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, precisely exactly where he served as the chief of orthopaedics. He left the Air Force in 2014.

Watson specialized in sports-connected injuries in young and adult men and women, which involves members of the U.S. military and youth and collegiate athletes, his Tampa Bay Sports Academy profile says.

Selina Pierce Patterson was a single of Watson’s men and women who posted on social media praising him and mourning his death. Patterson’s post stated Watson replaced her knee final year and just ahead of that operated on her rotator cuff.

“My heart is broken,” Patterson’s post stated. “He was outstanding at his profession and was a sweetheart at bedside disposition.”

Occasions workers writer Michaela Mulligan contributed to this report.

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