• Tue. Mar 28th, 2023

Tampa Bay location 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 have been identified as the two hikers who died following floodwaters surged via a narrow canyon in Utah final weekend.

Authorities on Thursday identified Dr. Jeffrey Watson and William “Bill” Romaniello as the two hikers whose bodies have been recovered this week following they went missing when floodwaters tore via Buckskin Gulch, a slot canyon in southern Utah that is preferred with hikers.

Each males worked for the Orthopaedic Healthcare 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 site. He was also a co-owner of the Tampa Sports Academy, which presents individual coaching, coaching and other solutions. And he was chief executive officer for Los Canna International, a corporation that supplies consulting and other solutions for the cannabis sector, his LinkedIn profile shows.

Dr. Jefferey Watson is pictured in a screenshot of his bio web page on the net web page of the Orthopaedic Healthcare Group of Tampa Bay.

[ omgtb.com ]

Romaniello was an athletic trainer for Orthopaedic Healthcare Group of Tampa Bay and served as the practice’s director of organization improvement and sports medicine. He was also the head athletic trainer at Jesuit Higher 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 amazing legacy and monumental void in the hearts of absolutely everyone that knew them,” according to a short statement posted on the practice’s Facebook web page on Thursday.

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

William “Bill” Romaniello is pictured in a screenshot of his bio web page from the Orthopaedic Healthcare Group of Tampa Bay exactly where he was an athletic trainer and director of organization improvement and sports medicine.

[ omgtb.com ]

The Kane County Sheriff’s Workplace on Thursday released the names of the 3 males and in a news released supplied a lot more facts about the search and rescue efforts.

The males have been arranging to hike from Wire’s Pass to Lee’s Ferry, a difficult 45-mile trek via rugged canyon land. The route would take them via Buckskin Gulch, the longest slot canyon in North America. They began Friday and have 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 location.

About five p.m. Monday, a Utah Division of Public Security helicopter spotted a 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 Security 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 therapy.

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

Watson had a leg injury and was unable to continue.

“After obtaining Jeff situated, Ed continued to appear for enable,” the news release stated.

Kane County Search and Rescue crews who entered Buckskin Gulch at the Middle Route Trail access location discovered 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 get in touch with from one more group of hikers. Even though seeking for these hikers, crews encountered a individual who stated he’d passed a dead physique on Monday and supplied some information and facts on the place. Crews have been unable to obtain the physique the subsequent day and heavy rains in the location delayed delayed search efforts.

Later Wednesday, searchers discovered Watson’s physique about three 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 have been pillars in their neighborhood and a massive loss to the healthcare field 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 Healthcare Group of Tampa Bay’s net web page. He spent his profession as a trainer, educator and rehabilitator. He joined the Healthcare Group in 2015 and constructed a sports medicine plan that treats sufferers at nearby sporting events. He became the head athletic trainer of Jesuit Higher in 2017, the school’s site shows.

Outdoors of function, Romaniello enjoyed spending time with his family members, watching sports and playing golf, his profile stated. He was a father of 3, Jesuit’s site stated.

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

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

”He normally stood for undertaking what’s correct, challenging function, family members initially, and assisting other people without the need of them asking for it,” Romaniello’s stepson Joshua Clark stated in a public Facebook post.

Watson was a major graduate from his squadron at the United States Air Force Academy and served six years in the Air Force, according to several on the web biographies. Soon after finishing his surgical coaching, he was assigned to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, exactly where he served as the chief of orthopaedics. He left the Air Force in 2014.

Watson specialized in sports-associated injuries in young and adult sufferers, which includes 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 sufferers who posted on social media praising him and mourning his death. Patterson’s post stated Watson replaced her knee final year and prior to 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.”

Instances employees writer Michaela Mulligan contributed to this report.

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