Man, 18, dies following apparent drowning at Palisade State Park

Palisade State Park. Photo: Utah Division of State Parks

STERLING, Utah, June 4, 2023 (Gephardt Daily) — An 18-year-old Utah County man died following an apparent drowning Saturday evening at Palisade State Park.

Alejandro Morales, of Goshen, was swimming with friends about 5 p.m., “when the weather conditions began to deteriorate,” according to a news release from the Utah Division of State Parks.

“Those nearby assisted in helping other struggling swimmers but could not reach Morales. When Morales went below the surface and did not reappear, witnesses called 911 for help,” the release states.

First responders later located Morales in 15-20 feet of water, with a surface temperature of approximately 65 degrees, parks officials said. He was not wearing a life jacket when he was recovered.

Morales was transported to Gunnison Valley Hospital, where he later was pronounced dead, parks officials said.

“The Utah Division of State Parks extends our condolences to Morales’ friends and family impacted by this incident,” the news release states.

The Sanpete County Sheriff’s Office, Sanpete County Search and Rescue, and Gunnison Valley and Ephraim City police departments also responded to the drowning.

“We would also like to thank the park visitors who assisted in the immediate search of the area when this incident occurred,” the release states.

State parks officials encourage those recreating in Utah’s outdoors to make safety a top priority.

“Always recreate with a buddy, wear your life jackets and helmets, and be sure to let somebody know where you are going and when to expect your return. Checking weather conditions and water temperatures is also vital,” the release states.

For more information about Utah’s state parks and other safety tips, visit


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