Jeffrey Watson and William Romaniello Wiki – Bio
Jeffrey Watson and William Romaniello, the victims, a pair of hikers died near the Utah-Arizona border after getting caught in flash flooding over the weekend.
Jeffrey Watson and William Romaniello were on a multi-day hike from Wire Pass to Lees Ferry through Buckskin Gulch, “the longest slot canyon in North America and a very popular hike,” according to the County Sheriff’s Office. Kane, when the flooding hit Saturday morning, authorities said in a statement.
Jeffrey Watson and William Romaniello age was not mentioned.
Group was reported missing a day after the trip was supposed to end
The two men, who were found dead, set out on the hike with Ed Smith, who survived. All three were seasoned hikers who worked together at the Tampa Bay Orthopedic Medical Group. The group was reported missing Monday, a day after the trip was supposed to end, after having “no contact with their families” during the hike, according to the sheriff’s office. Smith, the sole survivor, said he and Watson escaped the floodwaters but were unable to locate Romaniello, according to the sheriff’s office.
Watson, who suffered a leg injury in the flood, said he and Smith got separated while Smith went for help. Rescuers from the KCSO search and rescue team located Smith alive Monday and took him to safety via helicopter. Romaniello’s body was found later that night near the Middle Route area, the sheriff’s office said. Watson’s body was recovered less than 4 miles across the Arizona border the next day.
Search and rescue teams received numerous other distress signals as they searched for the missing men, including a group of four hikers seeking rescue in the canyon. During the operation, a hiker told officials that he had found Watson’s body the day before. However, officials were unable to reach the body until Wednesday afternoon.
The Tampa Bay Orthopedic Medical Group paid tribute to the colleagues Thursday, describing Watson and Romaniello as “two pillars of the practice” with “incredible” legacies. Their deaths leave “a monumental void in the hearts of all who knew them,” the practice added. The Orthopedic Medical Group of Tampa Bay family would like to thank the community for the prayers and perpetual hope for positivity over the past few days,” the practice said.
Who were Watson and Romaniello?
Watson was a surgeon at OMGTB, according to his biography on the practice’s website. He previously served as Chief of Orthopedics at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa and co-founded the Tampa Sports Academy.
Romaniello was the Director of Business Development at OMGTB and joined the practice in 2015. He helped build the practice’s sports medicine program and also enjoyed watching sports in his spare time.
In addition, he was an EMT with the Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company in Connecticut for over a decade before moving to Florida.
“He was a compassionate and competent provider who greeted everyone with a big smile,” the department wrote in a tribute. “Good luck brother. We will miss you. Thanks for keeping our community safe.”