SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – A friend of the man who died trying to save a child who fell into the Provo River, told ABC4 Utah that he was “one in a million.”
Sean Thayne, 30, of Sandy, jumped into the river Monday to try and save 4-year-old London DeDios and her mother Brenda DeDios. According to Utah County Sheriff’s Offive, the child “either slipped or fell in just short of the river. It was a fast paced river and the location she was at — it’s very narrow,” Lt. Erik Knutzen explained.
London’s body was recovered Tuesday about one mile downstream from where she fell in. Both Brenda and Thayne were pulled out of the river near the Murdock Diversion Dam, nearly three miles from where they entered the river.
Brenda and Thayne were taken to Utah Valley Hospital in Provo in critical condition. A short time later they were pronounced dead.
“We saw the best of him yesterday in the way that he gave his life to try to help a young girl who was also lost to this world way too young. And it’s Sean’s character from day one until the age of 30,” Chris Vance told Good4Utah’s Brittany Johnson during a FaceTime interview Tuesday afternoon.
Vance, who lives in New York, said he was just in Utah last week visiting Thayne. When he heard the news about his friend, he recalled being sad, but not shocked.
“He died the way that he was — helping others and being there for others and putting people first. And that doesn’t surprise me at all,” said Vance, holding back tears. “Whether he was able to reach that girl or not, I think she probably knew that Sean was in there trying to help. And I think that’s how he lived his life and for us that got to know him that way we are better people for it.”
Vance, whose mother died two months ago from cancer, said Thayne was selfless. He recalled a time when Thayne flew from Utah to New York just to cheer him on in a race to raise awareness for cancer.
“He was just that guy that, when you got to know him, it was really a blessing to have him in our lives,” Vance said. “He will never be forgotten.”