Man drowns in Lake Powell after going overboard on Kayak

Lone Rock, Lake Powell, Utah | Photo by Bustitaway / iStock / Getty Images Plus; St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Nearby campers listened helplessly to cries for help Thursday as high winds threw a man, more than 100 yards from shore, from his kayak. Once underwater – he never resurfaced.

After searching for 29 hours, authorities recovered the body of 51-year-old Allen Robert Delay around 7 p.m. Friday from Wahweap Bay near Lone Rock in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

Delay, from Lewistown, Montana, had been camping with his wife on Lone Rock Beach when he took an inflatable kayak out on the lake. As he paddled away from shore the weather quickly began to turn, said Alan Alldredge, Kane County Sheriff’s Director of Emergency Services.

“The weather got pretty bad,” he said, “and the winds really picked up.”

Delay was not wearing a life jacket at the time of the incident.

“It’s fairly common for rescuers to find people in the water after losing their boats or being thrown overboard in a storm who are not wearing a life jacket, similar to what happened in this incident,” Alldredge said. “Life jackets aren’t a consideration until something goes horribly wrong, but by then it can be too late.”

As the weather grew worse, high winds began rocking the kayak back and forth sending the man overboard and into the water. Other campers and National Park Service staff heard Delay’s pleas for help, Alldredge said.

Witnesses called the National Park Service 911 dispatch at Glen Canyon to report the incident.

A few minutes later, at approximately 2 p.m., the man went back underwater and did not return.

“It is possible that the man became overwhelmed,” Alldredge said, “and the distance from shore wasn’t really an issue until the winds started to pick up. At that point, the shoreline is harder to return to and seems farther away. Once in the water, and far from shore, panic sets in.”

High winds hindered initial search efforts Thursday as rescuers explored the location where Delay was last seen, along with nearby beaches and other areas.

The same weather conditions hampered the search again Friday. However, as the winds continued to die down that afternoon, rescue crews were able to resume their efforts.

The Utah Department of Public Safety Dive team located Delay’s body at 4:36 p.m. Friday using side-scan sonar.

The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Underwater Recovery Unit then successfully retrieved him using a submerged remotely operated vehicle from a depth of 74 feet.

The body was turned over to the Kanab City Police Department’s Medical Investigations Office, Alldredge said.

Mosdell Mortuary later transported Delay’s body to the Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office in Salt Lake City.

The search efforts were a multi-agency collaboration handled by the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, National Park Service, Utah Department of Public Safety Dive Team, Utah State Parks, United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, Classic Life Guard Aviation, Greenhaven Fire Department and the Big Water Marshal’s Office.

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

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

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