SAN JUAN COUNTY, Utah, Sept. 12, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — The body of an 18-month-old girl presumed drowned after going missing from a houseboat in Lake Powell has been found.
The body of Alleyah Janett Bell of Orangeville, Utah, was recovered from the Halls Crossing buoy field at 1:54 p.m. Monday, according to a news release from Sheriff Rick Eldredge, San Juan County Sheriff’s Office.
Alleyah had fallen into the water around 7:30 p.m. Saturday as she played on a family houseboat, the news release said.
Using sonar, the Utah Department of Public Safety Dive Team located the child at about 1 p.m. Monday in 240 feet of water.
“This depth was too deep for divers; therefore, the Summit County Search and Rescue deep water robot was used to recover the child’s body,” the news release said. “The body of the child will be transported to the Utah Medical Examiner’s Office to confirm the cause of death.
“The investigation is ongoing but there is no evidence of foul play.”
The San Juan County Sheriff had requested assistance from the Summit County Sheriff, the Utah Department of Public Safety and the National Park Service.
“The houseboat was located at the Halls Crossing buoy field and was tied to a stationary buoy,” Eldredge said.
“The mother told authorities that she lost track of the child for just a few minutes while the family recreated on the houseboat. The mother and immediate family frantically searched the boat before suspecting the child had fallen into the water.”
The child was not wearing any type of life preserver.
National Park Service rangers were contacted and arrived within minutes of the reporting call. Rangers could not locate the child on the houseboat, and turned their attention to the surrounding water.
Immediately, multiple NPS boats with sonar capability were called in to search the depths of the lake in that area, but the search was called off around 10:30 p.m. with no success in locating the child. The search resumed Sunday.
This latest incident comes less than three weeks after a Colorado mom died in the same area of Lake Powell while saving the life of her toddler son.
Chelsey Russell, 35, died from the heart condition cardiac arrhythmia on Aug. 23. Russell, of Lakewood, Colo., was on a houseboat near Halls Crossing with her son, 2, and daughter, 5.
Russell’s son, who was not wearing a life jacket, fell overboard.
Without hesitation, Russell dove in to save her son, her family said. She reached him and held his head out of the water. She also had not been wearing a life jacket.
Russell’s brother, Cayman Hood, raced to get into a small motorboat they had been towing. By the time her brother reached her, Russell and her son had been in the water about 5 minutes. She was unconscious, with her toddler still resting on her chest.
Eldredge told Gephardt Daily the brother grabbed the child, who began to cry, but by the time the brother got Russell into the boat, she was unconscious.
“She was still, for whatever reason, able to keep the baby on her chest, whether conscious or unconscious,” Eldredge said.
Hood began CPR on his sister, but she could not be revived, and later was declared dead. Her son was taken by medical helicopter to an Arizona hospital, and was treated and released.