SAND HOLLOW, Utah (ABC4 News) – Windstorms stranded several swimmers and boaters at Sand Hollow Reservoir Saturday, requiring three rescues with the assistance of Washington County Search and Rescue.
First responders are now urging visitors to take precautions with gusts up to 40 mph in Southern Utah through Wednesday night.
Sgt. Darrell Cashin, search and rescue liaison for Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, said 30 mph winds and a dust cloud rolled in within minutes, taking visitors by surprise.
“It’ll all be very calm, then all of a sudden the wind will just pick up and within 5 minutes you have white caps,” said Cashin.
Tents and tarps flew up in the air as boaters and swimmers tried to make it to the shore, according to Cashin. Emergency crews received a report that one boat had sunk on the backside of the island and a 15-year-old girl had severed her finger.
“The girl held onto her boat to keep it from slamming in the dock, and it caught her index finger between the boat and the dock,” Cashin said. “It took off the end of her finger.”
Washington County Search and Rescue gave the 15-year-old medical attention, putting her finger on ice and transporting her to Dixie Regional Medical Center. Cashin said medical personnel could not save her finger.
Several tubers and swimmers became stranded on the island in the center of the lake, becoming too weak to swim back. In total, three rescues took place.
Washington County Search and Rescue said it is highly likely similar rescues could take place Tuesday night and Wednesday with possible 40 mph winds.
Cashin said visitors should consider getting off the water as soon as it starts to get breezy before stronger winds come in. If dust clouds are visible in the distance, head to the shore right away.
If you are caught in a storm, make sure everyone has a life jacket on and try to make it to the nearest shore.
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