WASATCH COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – A teenager drowned while trying to save a family member at Deer Creek State Park on Sunday.

According to the Utah Department of Natural Resources (DNR), on June 19 at around 4:30 p.m., park rangers were alerted to an ongoing incident involving two people swimming off of a boat near the Sailboat Beach area.

The teen, identified as 18-year-old John Ballan of Zulia, Venezuela, was reportedly visiting the reservoir with friends and family.

Authorities say at one point, when the boat had stopped, one of Ballan’s family members had entered the water to swim, when the family member began to struggle to keep their head above water. Ballan reportedly jumped in after to help but began struggling as well.

Neither John nor the other family member were wearing life jackets. DNR says the surface water temperature was 64 degrees with waves and high winds.

Witnesses reportedly arrived to assist the struggling swimmers, and the original family member was successfully rescued, however, Ballan was not.

Utah Division of State Parks Law Enforcement Rangers, Wasatch County Sheriff’s deputies,
Wasatch County Search and Rescue, and the Outdoor Recreation ROV team all responded to
the area soon after and began the search for Ballan, and at around 11:30 p.m. that evening, the team recovered his body from the water.

“The Utah Division of State Parks extends our condolences to Ballan’s friends and family impacted by this tragedy,” a statement to ABC4 said

With the recreation season underway, Utah State Parks is warning the public that safety must be a top priority when exploring the beautiful places Utah has to offer. A statement from the DNR says, “Always recreate with a buddy, wear your life jackets and helmets, and always let somebody know where
you are going and when to expect your return.”

Additionally, the agency says that checking weather conditions and water temperatures is also vital.

To learn more about Utah’s state parks, safety tips, and laws and rules, click here.

The incident remains under investigation.