UTAH COUNTY (ABC4 News) – The search for two missing teenagers who disappeared on Utah Lake has come to an end. Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith said crews recovered the bodies of Priscilla Bienkowski and Sophia Hernandez.
A fisherman found discovered one body at 1:40 p.m. Thursday, and a pilot with the sheriff’s office spotted the other body roughly three hours later. The girls were found about 8.5 miles from where they entered the water.
Bienkowski, 18, and Hernandez, 17, had been missing since May 6. They were last seen when they left to go tubing on Utah Lake. When they didn’t return home, their parents called police.
The girls’ car, keys, clothes and cell phones were found near the Knolls area of the lake and their tubes were found in the water. Officials believe the girls were tubing out on the lake when strong wind gusts created dangerous conditions.
“Even with the shallowness, this lake can turn from flat glass to extreme conditions in just a moments notice,” said Ty Hunter with Utah State Parks.
Hunter made a plea to Utahns to always wear a personal flotation device when out on the water.
“Just remember, when you go out on the water, whether you’re out on a boat, or you’re going to go play in the water with either a pool tube or inner tubes or a kayak, canoe, whatever, wear a life jacket. That life jacket is your insurance to come home at the end of the day. It is your seat belt while you’re out on the water. It will keep you safe,” said Hunter.
Sheriff Smith expressed condolences to the girls’ families.
“One of the most important things I want to say tonight is, on behalf of the sheriff’s office and volunteers who have helped do this, is express our sincere condolences to the families of these two beautiful girls. this has been hard on everybody involved. i want to thank the families for being patient with us,” said Smith.
Over eight days, multiple state and local agencies helped with search efforts from the air, water, and shore.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help the girls’ families:
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