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Beaver High grad drowns at Minersville Reservoir

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Posted at 11:27 AM, May 31, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-01 00:59:24-04

BEAVER, Utah - The Beaver County Sheriff's Office is investigating the drowning death of a local teenager at nearby Minersville Reservoir.

17-year-old Zac Burke was swimming with friends when Sheriff's deputies say he disappeared under the water and never resurfaced. The call came in just after 6:30 Thursday evening.

"We dispatched our deputies, as well as Highway Patrol and our search and rescue to the area," says Beaver County Sheriff's Lieutenant Cody Black.

Crews searched for several hours, but Black says with visibility low, they called in the Washington County Dive Team to help. After a search lasting close to four hours, divers pulled Burke's body from the water not far from where he was last seen.

Black says it's unclear why Burke went under the water and never resurfaced.

Beaver High School principal David Green says Burke had just graduated last week and the reservoir trip was part of a post-school celebration. Green says Burke was well liked among all the students, both at Beaver High and neighboring Milford High.

"He could be with several different groups and he was very well-accepted by everyone," says Green. "He would go into other communities as well, and everyone knew who Zac was. He had a tremendous zeal for life."

Close to 100 students from both high schools gathered Friday morning at Beaver High to memorialize Burke. Green says it was somber occasion, but he is impressed at the students' resolve to help each other through a time that's so difficult for the entire community.

"I think it's exceptional to see both the communities come together and support one another," says Green.

Burke leaves behind his parents, two younger brothers and two sisters. Burke had also recently signed up for the Utah Army National Guard.