PINEVIEW RESERVOIR/WEBER COUNTY, Utah, July 18, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Emergency crews from Weber County responded to a reported possible drowning at Pineview Reservoir late Sunday afternoon.
Lt. Cortney Ryan, with the Weber County Sheriff’s Office, told Gephardt Daily the 911 call came in at about 5:45 p.m., reporting a possible drowning in the Middle Inlet area of the reservoir.
“Our marine patrol responded and found that a group of teen-aged boys were out swimming, attempting to swim across the inlet here,” Ryan said. “And one of them — a 16-year-old male — went under.”
“They made it halfway across the lake and realized they were tiring out, and went to turn back, and that’s when the one couldn’t stay above the water.”
The three other boys were able to make it out of the water safely.
Ryan said the teens tried to go over the area to look for their friend but were unable to locate him during the initial search.
“The search and rescue team is out searching for him now. It’s a recovery effort,” Ryan said.
Asked if the water temperature was a factor in the incident, Ryan said the water is about 70 degrees in that area because it’s a little shallower. In other parts of the reservoir, the temperature is roughly high 60s at the surface and gets a little colder the deeper you go into the water, he said.
When it’s 100 degrees outside and only 70 in the water, “it takes a toll on your body and makes you wear out a little quicker and tire out,” he explained.
Apparently, the teens were at Pineview on their own without any family members.
Describing the recovery effort, Ryan said, “We have our search and rescue team here — obviously our divers. We have a drone team that’s scouring the area. We also have a boat that has sonar.
“So they’re in the water searching by hand and by feel, and at the surface searching with the sonar, and the drone searching by air.”
He said there’s not much of a current in the area, “but the water is so murky and dark that once you get a couple feet under the water, you can’t see in front of you very well. It really is a search by feel.”
The divers form a chain and swim in one direction, then come back, and search in another direction.
Ryan said eight or 10 divers are on scene and will rotate and search until dark. The sonar boat will continue the search, and if something is found, the divers will be called back.
“We’ll definitely be here as long as we have the ability to search. One thing we don’t want to do is leave,” he said. “These guys are a dedicated group and won’t leave until the body is recovered.”
Ryan said the 16-year-old victim is believed to be from Weber County.
“As far as we know, there was no alcohol involved. And no life jackets,” he said. “Life jackets more than probably would have prevented this situation.”
He added that, considering the distance the teens were from the shore, it definitely would have been better to have a life jacket. He estimated the water in that area is 10 feet deep.