State Park officials ID teen drowning victim at Deer Creek Reservoir

Deer Creek Reservoir. Photo:

DEER CREEK STATE PARK, Utah, June 22, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — The Utah Division of State Parks has identified the teenager who drowned Sunday at Deer Creek State Park.

Park rangers were alerted at 4:30 p.m. to the incident involving two swimmers off a boat near the Sailboat Beach area.

“The teen, 18-year-old John Ballan of Zulia, Venezuela was visiting the reservoir with friends and family,” says the State Parks statement, issued Wednesday afternoon.

“At one point, when the boat had stopped, one of Ballan’s family members had entered the water for a swim. The family member began to struggle to keep their head above the water. Ballan then jumped into the water to assist the swimmer but also began struggling.

“Neither John Ballan nor the original swimmer was wearing a life jacket at the time. While the air temperature was in the mid-’80s, the surface water temperature was 64 degrees with waves and high winds.”

Witnesses to the incident arrived on a personal watercraft to assist the struggling swimmers, the statement says.

“The original family member was successfully rescued and taken to shore. Unfortunately, Ballan was not able to be rescued.”

Utah Division of State Parks Law Enforcement Rangers, Wasatch County Sheriff’s deputies, Wasatch County Search and Rescue, and the Outdoor Recreation ROV team all responded to the area and began the search for Ballan.

At approximately 11:30 p.m., that night, the team recovered Ballan’s body from the water.

“The Utah Division of State Parks extends our condolences to Ballan’s friends and family impacted by this tragedy. The incident remains under investigation.”

With the recreation season now underway, Utah State Parks officials want to remind people that although Utah’s outdoors are beautiful places to explore, safety needs to be a top priority.

“Always recreate with a buddy, wear your life jackets and helmets, and always let somebody know where you are going and when to expect your return. Checking weather conditions and water temperatures is also vital. To learn more about Utah’s state parks, safety tips, and laws and rules, visit

The red pin marks the approximate location of Sailboat Beach, at Deer Creek Reservoir. Image: Google Maps


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