Officials ID couple who drowned in Deer Creek State Park, report incident at Jordanelle

Deer Creek Reservoir. Photo:

WASATCH COUNTY, Utah, June 21, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah State Parks officials have released the names of a married couple from Arizona who died after being found floating face-down in Deer Creek State Park on Sunday.

Park rangers responded just before noon to an area of the reservoir off the main state park entrance, says a news release from Utah State Parks late Sunday night.

David D. McMillan, 72, had been swimming with family off a pontoon boat, according to the news release.

“While swimming, David and an adult family member began to struggle to keep their heads above the water. Seeing this, David’s wife, 59-year-old Catherine McMillan, jumped in the water to assist and then also began to struggle. None of the three were wearing life jackets,” the news release says.

A passerby who had EMS training assisted the park rangers in bringing the three people out of the water and administering first aid and CPR.

“The group was transported to the state park boat ramp, where first responders from Utah State Parks — along with Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office and Search and Rescue — continued working to revive them,” the news release says.

David and Catherine McMillan were transported to nearby hospitals, but both were pronounced dead a short while later. The family member is expected to fully recover from her injuries, the news release states.

This incident is currently under investigation.

Close call at Jordanelle

Another call for help Sunday afternoon involved three people at Jordanelle State Park, the news release says.

All three individuals were using a single floatation pool toy.

“While swimming with the group, a 14-year-old girl began to struggle in the water and continued going under,” the news release says. “She was not wearing a life jacket.”

Beach-goers who saw the girl struggling swam out to help bring her to shore. They immediately began CPR, and the girl was revived. She was later cleared at a nearby hospital.

The Utah Division of Parks and Recreation commented on both incidents, expressing  “condolences to the friends and family impacted by the passing of both David and Catherine McMillan.”

It continues:

“We would also like to remind those who are venturing into the outdoors to always stay on guard and to make safety a top priority. Always remember to wear your life jacket and ensure children are wearing their life jackets.”

For more information online about Utah’s life jacket laws, highlights of Utah’s boating laws and rules, and additional safety and education information, go to


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