Man in Sand Hollow drowning identified

Sand Hollow Reservoir, Hurricane, Utah, May 4, 2013 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News

HURRICANE The man who drowned at Sand Hollow Reservoir last week has been identified as Frederick Johnson, 27, of Hildale, Utah.

Sand Hollow State Park Manager Laura Melling said Johnson was swimming to a rock in the reservoir near the dock Thursday morning when companions noticed he was having difficulties in the water. They yelled for help from passing boaters who pulled Johnson out of the water and began to administer CPR. He was taken to the dock where state park staff and others responded.

Brandon Thomas, of St. George, was about to put his boat in the water at the dock when the boat came in with Johnson. Thomas said a woman on the boat who identified herself as a pediatric nurse had initiated CPR. Thomas, who is also a nurse and is ALS (Advanced Life Support) certified, quickly responded to the scene and helped the other nurse conduct CPR.

Thomas said a park ranger was on scene, yet said he felt the ranger was scrambling about and wasn’t adequately prepared for the situation. Thomas said he and the other nurse took charge at the scene and tried to get additional resources, such as a face-mask for CPR and a defibrillator, to help monitor Johnson’s heart rate and shock him if necessary. There was no defibrillator on hand and a face-mask wasn’t provided until the paramedics arrived, Thomas said. 

Hurricane Fire and Rescue arrived on the scene at 1:15 p.m. and transported Johnson to Dixie Regional Medical Center in critical condition. He was later pronounced dead.

In the wake of the incident Thomas said he felt the state park was unprepared for an emergency situation, particularly one that happened on a holiday. 

There’s no saying the outcome would have been any better,” he said, “it felt like the park was really unprepared.”

Melling said the rangers and staff at the state park are trained as first-responders, though none are staged as lifeguards around the reservoir. People who decide to swim out from the shore do so at their own risk.

As for the response of park staff to the incident: “Short of sitting on the boat you couldn’t have been any faster,” Melling said.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

Sand Hollow Reservoir, Hurricane, Utah, May 4, 2013 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News
Sand Hollow Reservoir, Hurricane, Utah, May 4, 2013 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News

 

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