ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4 News) – Washington County Search and Rescue crews recovered a body from the popular Gunlock Falls near St. George Saturday.
State park officials identified the man as Brandon Johnson, 36, of Logan. They say Johnson jumped off a 60-foot cliff at the top of a waterfall at Gunlock State Park, resurfaced momentarily from the water, then didn’t come back up.
Rescue crews said Johnson hit large boulders beneath the pool of water when he jumped from the biggest drop of at the park. Investigators are still determining whether Johnson died of the impact or of drowning.
“Without knowing what’s in the water at all times and where exactly you’re going to land, you don’t know what you could hit or what could happen,” said Gunlock State Park manager Jon Allred.
Allred said he’s urging those at Gunlock Falls to avoid cliff diving or getting too close to fast-moving water.
“We all know someone can drown in just six inches of water,” said Sgt. Darrell Cashin, Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue liaison.
Cashin added that this year’s heavy rain has created dangerous conditions for hikers, swimmers, and tubers.
“You may be standing on solid ground, and you take ten steps out, and you’re in 20 or 30 feet of water,” said Cashin.
Utahns at Gunlock State Park said they’re surprised and worried about the large crowds this spring and how close children and teens are getting to the falls.
“Just stay safe and appreciate it for what it is,” Utah resident Jennifer Evans said. “Don’t let your kids go near it and definitely don’t jump off the rocks.”
The Gunlock State Park manager said it’s the first time this year a body was recovered in the water at the park. Allred added that he fears there may be more.