- Warning: Graphic video of injuries
AMERICAN FORK CANYON, Utah, June 29, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Five young men sustained serious injuries after sliding down the spillway at Silver Lake Flat Reservoir in American Fork Canyon.
A video released by Utah County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Spencer Cannon said the incident occurred on June 3 at approximately 6:30 p.m.
“Five 19 to 20-year-old men from Lehi and Highland were here at Silver Lake Flat in American Fork Canyon,” Cannon said in the video. “They were just here to have some fun and go swimming in the reservoir. As they got ready to leave, they agreed that it sounded fun to climb into the spillway and slide down. The outcome for them was not good.”
In addition to less severe bumps, cuts and bruises, the five between them had three broken ribs, a foot broken in two places, a broken sacrum, which is the bone in the bottom of one’s spine, a back broken in three places, one spinal cord contusion, a serious concussion and a total of approximately 270 stitches, Cannon said.
“And they had five cases of seriously injured pride,” he added. “The truth is they are lucky to be alive. In an effort to educate others who might consider the same activity, they agreed to let their story be told in the effort others would not make the same bad choice they did. Yes they were all charged with criminal trespass, but they could have easily lost their lives. All of these young men survived their misadventure, and we want you to spread the word that not only is this kind of activity illegal, it could be deadly.”
A voice-over from one of the young men followed.
“As soon as we started sliding, we knew we had made a terrible decision. We didn’t know the danger we were getting ourselves into. As you can see, the spillway is steep and has a shallow concrete bottom. When we hit the bottom, we hit so hard and with such force, that we were all seriously injured and could have been killed. I suffered three broken ribs and a serious concussion.”
Another of the men then added: “I fractured my lower back in two places and needed emergency surgery to close a serious laceration. The doctor told me it would take five to eight weeks to recover from my injuries.”
A third man then said: “I got two lacerations in my right arm; I had to get 45 stitches total and I tore two tendons in my wrist, and recovery time is four to six weeks.”
One of the young men concluded: “It doesn’t matter who you are, sliding or tubing down the spillway can end in tragedy. You can’t do it safely, it’s impossible. The spillway is way too dangerous, even for the biggest thrill seekers. We wanted everyone to know what happened to us because we don’t want anyone else to get hurt at the Silver Lake Flat.”