UTAH COUNTY SHERIFF


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Three victims lucky to be alive


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Search and Rescue efforts locate three victims on a blow up raft on Utah Lake.


On Monday, April 1, 2003 the Utah County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call from a local citizen regarding a boat on Utah Lake with three victims. The caller stated that the victims were in a gray blow up raft and the wind was blowing very hard. The caller also stated that the boat was out of sight and could not be seen by using binoculars.

Utah County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue, Ten Deputies and a Pilot responded to the scene. The wind was blowing very hard and the visibility was approximately 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile.

The victims wife was at Lincoln Beach and could speak very little english. The three victims were fishing for catfish just off Lincoln Beach when the wind started to blow hard. The command post was set up at Lincoln Beach. Search and Rescue and Deputies from the Sheriff's Office responded within 15 minutes on the shore of Utah Lake with diving gear and water craft.

Pilot Lt. Dave Bennett spotted three victims near the shore of Utah Lake from the air. Search and Rescue personnel responded to the scene on the ground and found all three victims alive, however cold and wet.

The victims are very lucky to be alive. The winds were blowing in an easterly direction. If the wind was blowing north or north west there would have been a very high chance that the boat would have been swamped from the 4 to 6 foot waves and taken their lives.

The victims did not have any personnal floatation divices. We highly admonish all people who are on the water to wear their PFD's. Utah Lake is often unpredictable, the wind and currents constantly change direction. The Lake can be very deceptive because it is a shallow water lake, however the waves are very high and close together making even a rescue extremely difficult. Deputies and Search and Rescue personnel spent approximately 54 man hours in recovering the victims.

Sgt. Dennis Harris Public Information Officer Utah County Sheriff Office