WASHINGTON COUNTY (ABC4 News) – Washington County first responders are reminding residents of swift water dangers after a group with small children became stranded on the Virgin River last week.
Southern Utah residents have been seeking a little respite from the long and hot summer days along the currents of the Virgin River, whether tubing, rafting, or kayaking, according to Washington City Fire Department Capt. Julio Reyes.
“It’s really hard to resist these waters when we’re so used to a climate with not much water, so when we do see this water come, we want to play in it,” said Reyes.
Reyes said a pair of adults with three small children ages 6-12 were sharing a few inner tubes and quickly got swept away last Thursday near the Sullivan River Soccer Park. The group then became stranded on a sandbank in the middle of the river, he added.
Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue liaison Sgt. Darrell Cashin said residents are continuing to underestimate the power of fast moving water.
“Please, everyone, just stay away from the rivers for now and wait for them to come down before you start going and playing in them,” said Cashin.
Last weekend, search and rescue crews recovered a body from the popular Gunlock Falls after a Logan man went cliff diving and hit a boulder beneath pools of water, according to Gunlock State Park manager Jon Allred.
“A lot of people think, ‘It’s happened to someone else, but it’s not going to happen to me,’ but it does,” added Cashin.
Cashin warned that unless residents are trained to navigate swift water, they should avoid main channels completely and stay in water below their knees, as just six inches of water can sweep them off their feet.
Reyes added to always make sure you have a personal flotation device on, such as life jacket, and stay in large groups when recreating near water.