Father’s Day drownings at Utah state parks prompts safety reminders

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – It was a deadly weekend at a couple of Utah lakes, as three people drowned in two separate state park reservoirs.

Officials say the big reminder is to wear a life jacket and to stay on the surface. The water may look calm, but it is not.

“There could be undertows or undercurrents under there,” Devan Chaves with the State Parks says. “From 2019 to 2020 we saw that 30% increase in visitation, a lot of that is new recreators.”

Sunday morning, Wasatch County officials say a couple from Arizona drowned at Deer Creek Reservoir.

Officials say 59-year-old Catherine McMillan jumped in the water to save her 72-year-old husband David McMillan and another family member.

“By the time rescuers got to them, both David and his wife were face down. Thankfully the third family member was able to be resuscitated and is expected to recover,” Chavez says.

A few hours later, officials say a 37-year-old man swam out to save his son, who was floating on a device near the middle inlet area of Pineview Reservoir.

He went under and never came back up. Officials say no one was wearing a life jacket.

“There are different types of life jackets for every sort of activity, but the biggest thing is you want to make sure your life jacket is U.S. coast guard approved,” Chavez says.

According to Stop Drowning Now, 3,000 to 4,000 people drown a year. Which is about 10 deadly drownings a day.

Officials say simply wearing a life jacket can reduce drownings.

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