Man drowns in shallow water while fishing at Quail Creek

Quail Creek reservoir, Hurricane, Utah, May 11, 2018 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE Investigators are trying to determine how a 24-year-old man drowned Tuesday in shallow water at Quail Creek reservoir.

Responders from the Hurricane City Police Department and Utah State Parks personnel found the body of Zackary Mansfield of Provo facedown in the water around 11:30 p.m., according to a statement from the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation.

“He was found fully submerged in shallow water,” park manager Candace Smith told St. George News. “But we are not sure how he got there or why he passed.”

Mansfield and his friend arrived at the reservoir at about 7:30 p.m. and began fishing along the shore. His friend left, but became worried after a few hours of not being able to contact Mansfield and called authorities who responded to the park.

Washington County Search and Rescue was called in to help with the investigation to determine the sequence of events that led to the man’s death, and how the body became positioned where it was in the water.

The agency’s dive team documented the underwater scene, said Sgt. Darrell Cashin, of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

For two hours the dive team took underwater video and still photos while a sketch of the scene was completed to show exactly how it appeared when the body was discovered.

“We document anything and everything that we find under and above the water,” Cashin said.

The information, including air and water temperature, wind speeds and more, is collected to help investigators to determine how the man ended up where he did, submerged in just a few feet of water, he said. It is also important to document as much of the scene as possible before the medical examiner arrives and moves the body “because once that body is moved you can lose the scene and the evidence.”

The medical examiner conducted a preliminary examination of the body before it was transported to the Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

This report is based on statements from police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. 

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