ST. GEORGE — A father drowned at Lake Powell on Thursday afternoon after helping his struggling children out of the water.
Phil Chiang, 49, of Palo Alto, California, was identified as the victim of the drowning incident, according to a press release issued by the National Park Service. He was visiting Lake Powell with his family when the fatal incident occurred.
Authorities received an emergency marine band call of a possible drowning around 1:15 p.m. in the Warm Creek Bay area of the reservoir within the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. This area is located between Navajo Canyon and Gunsight Bay, approximately 12 miles from the Glen Canyon Dam.
Witnesses in the area told responders they saw a family of four touring the area on a rented ski boat when the watercraft stopped in the cove at Warm Creek Bay.
Two children without life jackets jumped into the water and soon after appeared to be struggling. Chiang then jumped into the water to assist his children, but he was also reportedly not wearing a life jacket. After helping the children into the boat, authorities say Chiang disappeared under the water.
The children’s mother flagged down boats in the area and an emergency call was sent out on the marine band radio.
Three boats and several people assisted in the search for Chiang who was found 10 minutes later underwater. He was taken to a nearby beach where CPR was started. National Park Service rangers arrived next, along with the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Dive Team and a Classic Air Medical helicopter team.
Despite efforts to resuscitate Chiang, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Additional agencies that responded to the incident include the Kane County Sheriff’s Office and Utah State Parks.
Afterward, Chiang’s body was transported to the Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office in Salt Lake City for an autopsy.
“The National Park Service and Kane County Sheriff’s Office express our condolences to the victim’s family and friends,” officials said in the press release.
Park officials remind all boaters to always wear life jackets when boating and recreating on or around water.
The National Park Service provides links to the following websites concerning life jackets and general safety:
- Glen Canyon National Recreation Area visitor safety tips
- Utah State Parks: Ten Things You Need To Know Before You Boat
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