Illinois man drowns over the weekend at Deer Creek State Park
Kayaker was not wearing life jacket at time of incident
A 32-year-old man drowned over the weekend when his kayak overturned at Deer Creek State Park.
At about 3:20 p.m. on Saturday, Utah State Parks received reports of a kayak accident involving a man and a woman at Deer Creek in the Wallsburg Bay area, according to Sgt. Drew Patterson, of Utah State Parks.
Patterson said the victim, Anuj Khandelwal, of Illinois, and his wife, were on the water when both of their kayaks overturned. Patterson said Khandelwal did not know how to swim and he was not wearing a life jacket. However, both he and his wife each had one on board.
“He went under very quickly and she went under as well, but she was able to struggle to the top,” Patterson said. “A couple of boats that were nearby came over to aid her. One person dove in and pulled her up and another individual dove in trying to find the male, but was unsuccessful.”
Wasatch County Search and Rescue used sonar equipment to locate the body, about 75 feet below the surface, Patterson said. Summit County Search and Rescue helped retrieve it.
Patterson said the couple was not required to wear life jackets, but, he added, “He definitely wouldn’t have drowned had he been wearing it.”
State law only requires children under the age of 12 to constantly wear a life jacket when on any body of water. Those older than 12 must have one readily available, but they are not required to wear them at all times.
Statewide, 80 percent of boating fatalities involve people who are not wearing a life jacket, according to a press release. It states Utah ranks in the Top 10 in the country for boating fatalities. This incident marks the third boating-related death for 2017.
“We have drownings every year in the state of Utah and it doesn’t take much,” Patterson said. “There are so many different types of life jackets and we definitely encourage everyone to wear one.”
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