One man is dead and another is still missing after floodwaters poured into a slot canyon in southern Utah, endangering three groups of hikers who had to be hoisted out via helicopter Tuesday.
Kane County Sheriff’s Lt. Allen Alldredge said the man who was found dead and the man who remains missing were among a group of three hiking south to Lees Ferry across the Utah-Arizona border. The third man was rescued and taken to the hospital, where he was being treated for hypothermia and bodily injury after days of exposure.
Alldredge said authorities received a call Monday from the spouse of a hiker who had not returned home from a hike they began Friday. The hikers were on a multiday trek from Wire Pass to Lees Ferry through Buckskin Gulch’s sandstone features that includes multiple narrow slot canyons.
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Authorities did not release any of the hiker’s names. Alldredge said the dead man was from the Tampa, Florida area.
The “atmospheric river” storms that swept parts of the western United States last weekend raised the water level in the canyons before additional floodwaters spilled into the slot canyons early this week. Authorities continued to search for the missing hiker as weather forecasts predicted additional rain Wednesday.
Two Utah Department of Public Safety helicopters surveyed the area looking for the missing hiker. After being called for the group of three, they also helped extract 11 other people stuck in frigid floodwaters who had called for help.