Harbor master details events leading to hunters’ deaths at lake

Posted at 7:17 PM, Nov 18, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-18 23:42:54-05

SALT LAKE COUNTY -- Dave Shearer, the harbor master for the Great Salt Lake State Marina, said he spotted the small boat that eventually capsized Saturday night. He saw it, but soon lost sight of it.

Two of the three men on board the small, flat-bottomed boat, did not survive out in the water that night. The men were duck hunting on the lake near Saltair. Shearer said other hunters warned him to "keep an eye on them."

"Other duck hunters came in and said they had been with those guys and were a little concerned with them, they were in a very small boat on the Great Salt Lake," said Shearer.

(Read: Boat capsizes in Great Salt Lake; 2 dead)

Unified Police said the three set out into the lake at about 1 p.m. and at about 4 p.m. the waters started to get choppy and their boat took on water.

The hunters' boat eventually submerged and they were forced to figure out how to get to dry land.

With the sun setting, Shearer said he encountered one of the men who made it to shore. The hunter explained two of his party were missing.

"He said they [the other two] decided to stay with the boat and he wanted to swim in to try to get help and that the boat had capsized before he swam in," Shearer said.

The hunter that swam to shore was treated at the scene and had no injuries or symptoms of hypothermia.

Searchers found the other two hunters' bodies at about 11 p.m. Saturday. Authorities later released the names of the men who died as 25-year-old Chad Tohinaka of Salt Lake City and Logan Hardman, also 25, of West Jordan.