SAND HOLLOW STATE PARK (ABC4 News) – The Medical Examiner’s Office has now identified the Salt Lake County man found dead at the bottom of a reservoir at Sand Hollow State Park.
Officials recovered the body of 19-year-old Carlos Rodrigo Brambila Thursday in the “jumping rocks” area of the park. Initially, the search began as a missing person’s report out of Toquerville.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office sent out the missing person’s alert on Wednesday after family members reported they had not heard from him.
Early Thursday morning, Brambila’s vehicle was located at the boat ramp parking lot on the northeast side of the reservoir, which officials believe had been there since Monday afternoon.
The teen had gone swimming near some rocks, according to authorities. With water temperatures near freezing, rescuers told ABC4 News that even while wearing dry suits, they needed to limit how long their divers were in the water.
“Someone who does not have any protection at all in 45-degree water has just minutes before they become hypothermic,” Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Sgt. Darrell Cashin said. “Their muscles will start tightening and they won’t be able to move their arms and legs, and usually they’ll just sink to the bottom.”
Rescue teams say that if the teen had jumped from the rocks into the water, the shock to his body could have made him involuntarily inhale water or even stop his heart.
“It could be something where you jump in, kind of have the shock effect, and you can’t make it to the shoreline,” said Sand Hollow State Park manager Jonathan Hunt.
Washington County Search and Rescue teams say they had to use an underwater drone to scan the bottom of the reservoir, locate the victim’s body, and gather all the evidence — all before their dive teams plunged into the water to recover him.
Utah State Parks law enforcement rangers, along with members of the Washington County SAR team, recovered Brambila’s body about 15 feet from shore in approximately 13 feet of water.
Jumping off the cliffside into the reservoir is permitted by the park in this area, but search and rescue crews say swimming in 45-degree water is not recommended.
The incident remains under investigation.
As spring break is just around the corner, park officials are urging everyone to swim in groups, come out with some friends, and be aware of their abilities at the reservoir.
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