Man drowns after attempting to rescue friend on Lake Powell

Boat ramp at Wahweap Marina, Lake Powell, Ariz., August 2017 | File photo courtesy of Lin Floyd, St. George News

GLEN CANYON NATIONAL RECREATION AREA — A 46-year-old Utah man died after authorities say he drowned during a boating trip on Lake Powell.

On Sunday at 6:33 p.m., the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Dispatch Center received a report of a possible drowning on Lake Powell. National Park Service rangers and medical ambulance personnel were dispatched to the Stateline Boat Ramp to render aid.

Witnesses reported the victim was part of a group of seven friends on a private vessel in Wahweap Bay on Lake Powell in Utah in Kane County, not far from Page, Arizona. One member of the group jumped in the water and was not wearing a life jacket, according to a press release issued by the park service.

“High winds began while the individual was in the water and they began to struggle,” the press release states. “The victim jumped into the water to provide assistance but was not wearing a life jacket and also began to struggle.”

Windy conditions caused the boat to drift away from the swimmers and mechanical problems delayed restarting the vessel. A flotation rescue device was tossed toward the victim, but he was unable to grab the device. The vessel was restarted and boated toward the victim. A passenger onboard jumped into the water and saved the first swimmer by helping them into a life jacket and grabbed the drowning victim, who was underwater at that point. The man was moved back onboard the vessel and CPR was administered as he was taken approximately 1 mile south to the Stateline Launch Ramp.

Lake Powell – Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of the National Park Service, St. George News

Once the boating party arrived on shore, two off-duty volunteer firefighters provided CPR to the patient. Park rangers continued life saving efforts, including CPR and defibrillator, without success. Classic Life Guard Air Medical and Utah State Parks and Recreation personnel arrived and also rendered assistance. The man did not respond to medical interventions and continuous CPR and was pronounced dead on scene at approximately 8 p.m.

The man has been identified as Justin Shannon, of West Jordan.

Mosdells Mortuary transported the victim to the Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office in Salt Lake City for an autopsy. The incident is under investigation by the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, National Park Service and the Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office.

“All boaters are reminded to be aware of changing weather conditions, to immediately seek safe haven in high winds or storms, and to always wear life jackets when boating and recreating on or around water,” the press release states.

More safety information is available online.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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