Officials on Monday recovered the body of a teenager who drowned while swimming in Pineview Reservoir, tapping the help of Utah Highway Patrol experts and even a K-9 search team.
The death was the fourth such fatality tied to the reservoir this season. Before this year, there hadn’t been a drowning at Pineview since 2017.
“Life jackets,” said Lt. Courtney Ryan of the Weber County Sheriff’s Office, asked Monday what sort of message he wanted to convey to the public in light of the recent deaths. “Recreate safe. Be prepared.”
The 16-year-old male from Ogden, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was at Pineview with a group of friends when he and three others attempted to swim across a section of the reservoir in the Middle Inlet area, north of Huntsville. That was around 5:45 p.m. Sunday.
“He was there with a group of friends. They decided they wanted to swim, shore to shore,” Ryan said. “It’s a pretty good distance.”
Three others in the group made it across. About halfway across, the 16-year-old turned back but didn’t make it to shore. His companions “tried to help and they couldn’t,” Ryan said.
The Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue team was called in and they searched Sunday, unsuccessfully, for the teen’s body and resumed efforts Monday.
Around 2:30 p.m. Monday, the body was located, the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post. The Utah Highway Patrol’s dive team and sonar boat aided, as well as K-9 search dogs, according to Ryan. “We are grateful for the assistance from the Utah Highway Patrol and all the volunteers who assisted with the search,” said the Facebook message.
A 25-year-old man was hospitalized on June 27 after nearly drowning at Pineview while trying to help his brother, who had disappeared under the water. The brother was found, but then others assisting noticed that the 25-year-old had gone under the water. He was found after about 10 minutes, airlifted to a hospital in critical condition and later died, according to Ryan.
On June 20, a 37-year-old man drowned, also in the Middle Inlet area, after swimming out to his son, who was using a flotation device in the reservoir.
On May 15, a 61-year-old man was found facedown in the water near the Port Ramp area on the west side of Pineview, the first drowning victim this year.
The last suspected drowning death at Pineview before this year was in 2017, when the body of a 44-year-old man was found floating, also in the Port Ramp area.
On June 28, Weber County Sheriff’s Office and Weber Fire District reps met with the media at Pineview Reservoir to emphasize the importance of safety while at Pineview. Among the messages:
Use a life jacket, particularly if you’re in water that’s up to your chest or deeper.
Know your limitations as a swimmer and don’t exceed them.
For parents, keep close tabs on your children.
Those entering the water to help someone who’s struggling should first shout out for someone else to call first responders. Then, put on a life jacket before swimming out to help.
Heat, waves and wind can make swimming at Pineview more precarious than at a swimming pool, and the reservoir has a steep drop off that can add to the danger.