Kite surfer on Utah Lake at same time as missing teens says ‘swells were at least three to six feet high’

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UTAH COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News) UPDATE: The bodies of Priscilla Bienkowski and Sophia Hernandez were found Thursday, May 14.


Search and Rescue crews looking for two missing teens said Wednesday’s conditions on Utah Lake turned dangerous fast. 

RELATED: Is Utah Lake dangerous for recreation?

Jay Gold a kite surfer says he was out on the water when 18-year-old Priscilla Beinkowski and 17-year-old Sophia Hernandez went missing. Gold says he has been kite surfing at Utah Lake for eight seasons. 

Related: Search and Rescue crews continue search for two missing teens at Utah Lake.

“You only ditch your gear when you’re worried about your life,” which Gold said he had to do for the first time on Wednesday. 

“It was in the reeds, I’d come back this morning with my stand up paddle board to retrieve it,” Gold said. “It gets very dangerous out here”. 

Gold recounts what it was like getting caught in Wednesday’s wind storm. 

“About 7 o’clock that’s when the swell hit winds to about 50,” Gold said. “I got caught out there, those swells were at least three to six feet high”. 

Gold says it was a tough day for even an experienced kite surfer. Let alone two teens floating in what officials are calling pool toys. 

“You need a wet suit,” Gold said. “And booties and maybe some head protection”. 

Crews have been searching for Priscilla and Sophia, both from Spanish Fork, since Wednesday night.

The two girls went on the lake to go tubing when the weather suddenly went bad. The girl’s car, keys, clothes and cell phones were found near the Knolls area of the lake and their tubes were found in the water.

As of right now this is still a rescue mission, but that could transition to a recovery the longer they go without hearing from the girls.

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