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Two hikers killed in ‘wall of water’ flash flood at Utah canyon

Two hikers were found dead after a flash flood swept them away and carried their bodies for miles along a Utah Canyon, say officials.

Gary York, 65, and John Walter, 72, were killed in Buckskin Gulch after they were “caught by surprise and swept away by the rushing wall of water,” according to Kane County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities say that the alarm was raised on 21 May when a group hiking the Paria River found a dead male in the canyon, just over the border in Arizona.

Gary York and John Walter killed by flash flooding in Utah canyon (Kane County Sheriff’s Office)
Gary York and John Walter killed by flash flooding in Utah canyon (Kane County Sheriff’s Office)

The male had no identification on him so deputies began looking for vehicles at trailheads in the area to try and work out who the victim was.

The following day, the sheriff’s office received a call from an Ohio police department saying they had received a call about two overdue hikers who had failed to make contact with their families.

They had not been heard from since Saturday afternoon as they hiked five miles into Wire Pass and Buckskin Gulch, said the agency.

York, who was from West Chester Township, was identified from photos sent to the sheriff’s office.

Search and rescue teams then began working their way through Buckskin Gulch where the body of Walter, who was from Kettering, Ohio, was found.

Buckskin Gulch (also known as Buckskin Creek, Buckskin Wash, and Kaibab Gulch) is a gulch and slot canyon in southern Kane County, Utah in the United States, near the Arizona border. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Buckskin Gulch (also known as Buckskin Creek, Buckskin Wash, and Kaibab Gulch) is a gulch and slot canyon in southern Kane County, Utah in the United States, near the Arizona border. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

York was carried nearly 10 miles down the canyon, while Walter was carried between seven to eight miles, deputies said.

“Again, we have witnessed the relentless power and danger of flash flooding in Kane County’s slot canyons,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

In March, two men from Florida drowned in flooding in the same canyon, a 16-mile hike through slot canyons near the Utah-Arizona border