A family from Davis County out on Willard Bay for a day of boating and recreation Friday ended up spending almost eight hours trying to survive after a surprise storm and rough waves capsized their boat, leaving them stranded in the water.
Willard Bay Park Manager James Morgan said the family of five, plus a family friend, were all wearing life jackets when their craft overturned around 5:30 p.m., and managed to get hold of floating devices in the boat, which they used to keep above the high waves as they attempted to make their way to shore.
Three of the passengers, two 18-year-olds and a 13-year-old, were the first to reach land and were able to flag down a Utah Highway Patrol Trooper on I-15 about 11:15 p.m. They were transported to Brigham City Hospital and treated for hypothermia. The three were unable to give a good location for rescuers to begin the search for the rest of the family, which included a 52 year-old male, his 46-year-old wife, and an 11-year-old, Morgan said. Box Elder County Sheriff Search and Rescue personnel were called in to help with State Park officers, Sheriff’s officers and UHP troopers. Life Flight helicopter was also dispatched, along with Willard police and fire units. The scuba team was also called out to help with the search
Morgan said Search and Rescue crew members patrolling the east dike on ATVs discovered the three boaters just before 1 a.m. Saturday morning. They were also treated for hypothermia.
He praised the quick response of all involved, especially the efforts of Search and Rescue. He said the end result could have been tragic if the family had not followed safety procedures and been wearing life jackets when their boat capsized. Using available floating aids that were in the boat also helped them make it to shore, Morgan added.