Two hikers die when slot canyon floods near Lake Powell

Two hikers die when slot canyon floods near Lake Powell

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Two hikers were found dead after floodwaters poured into a slot canyon near the Utah-Arizona line. Their companion and 11 other hikers in the area were rescued by helicopter.

Search crews had been notified Monday by the wife of one of the three men, who said the party was overdue. They had started Friday on what was planned to be a multi-day, 40-mile trek through Buckskin Gulch, from Wire Pass in Utah to Lees Ferry, near the west end of Lake Powell in Arizona.

Two of the men were found dead, on Tuesday and Wednesday, Kane County sheriff’s Lt. Allen Alldredge said. The third member of the party was spotted alive by an air search team and was hoisted out of the canyon. He was hospitalized with hypothermia and an unspecified injury.

No cause of death was stated, and the hikers’ names were not released. All were in their 50s, and one of the men found dead was from Florida, Alldredge said.

Buckskin Gulch is usually dry or with water not much higher than ankle-deep, but the “atmospheric river” storms that swept the western United States last weekend quickly raised the water level.

“They had the packs, they had the necessary gear, food and stuff they needed for this particular hike. It’s just the conditions were above and beyond what anybody expected,” Alldredge told TV station KSTU.

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