1 dead, 1 rescued, 1 still missing from hiking group in Buckskin Gulch floodwaters

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BIG WATER, Kane County — An overdue hiker in Kane County was found dead, one was rescued and taken to a hospital, and one remained missing late Tuesday after flooding in Buckskin Gulch, officials said.

Family members Monday afternoon reported the group of three missing after they had not arrived to Lees Ferry, in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, as expected Sunday night. They had gone on a three-day trip to Buckskin Gulch, said Kane County Sheriff's Lt. Alan Alldredge.

The Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter based in St. George was called to help with the search, and the Salt Lake City helicopter also made its way to southern Utah as it can hoist people from canyons, the lieutenant said.

"They were able to from the air, be able to find some areas where it looked like camping equipment, a backpack," Alldredge said.

Crews spotted one man from the group and a DPS helicopter lowered a rescuer down to him. The hiker was in "kind of serious health problems at that time, being cold and in the water for three days and struggling with that," Alldredge said.

That hiker was hoisted out of the canyon and taken to a hospital, where he was recuperating late Tuesday.

"We did locate one other individual last evening who was deceased, from that original party as well. We are still searching for the third individual," according to the lieutenant.

The man who died is from the Tampa, Florida area. His name has not yet been released.

The man who was rescued gave crews detailed location information that could help them find the hiker who remains missing, according to Alldredge.

During the search-and-rescue operation, two other parties called for help in the same area of the canyon. The state helicopter has extracted a total of 11 people from three different groups out of the canyon who could not get out due to high water and flash floods, Alldredge said.

Kane County Sheriff Tracy Glover said the search has been complicated due to the floodwaters from early spring runoff in the slot canyon.

More rain is expected Tuesday evening into Wednesday.

"We're a little concerned about that and trying to get our work done as quickly as we can, obviously, for those reasons," Glover said.

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Bridger Beal-Cvetko covers Utah politics, Salt Lake County communities and breaking news for KSL.com. He is a graduate of Utah Valley University.


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