19-year-old man drowns at state park; authorities release name of victim

GARFIELD COUNTY – Authorities have release the name of a 19-year-old man who drowned at Otter Creek State Park Saturday.

Jommel Muhi, 19, of the Philippines, was found in about 19 feet of water near where he had last been seen swimming with a friend in Otter Creek Reservoir, Utah State Parks Lt. Ranger Regan Wilson said. The reservoir is located in Otter Creek State Park, near the small town of Antimony in Garfield County.

Muhi had been out with a group of people on a pontoon boat, Wilson said, when two of the men decided to go for a swim.

“One of the male individuals, his body cramped up, and he was not able to make it back to the boat,” Wilson said. “The other individual that he was with made it back to the boat.”

Search and rescue crews were called out a little before 6 p.m., Wilson said. Wasatch County Search and Rescue happened to be nearby in the Fish Lake area and brought their sonar equipment to help with the search.

Search teams found Muhi’s body around 10:30 p.m.

The drowning occurred about three-quarters of a mile up the lake, at the north end, Wilson said. Water in the reservoir was 63 degrees Saturday, which is cold for swimming.

At the time of his death, Muhi had been working at Bryce Canyon National Park as part of a seasonal or foreign exchange program, Wilson said.

“There were no life jackets, as far as we know,” he said. “Had he been wearing a life jacket, possibly there would have been a different outcome.”

In addition to wearing life jackets, Wilson said, it’s important for people to know the water temperature and understanding their own swimming abilities.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Resources

  • Utah State Parks Boating safety Web page

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