Friends, family hold balloon launch to honor teens in fatal Bear Lake boating accident

Posted at 8:32 PM, Jun 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-03 08:30:09-04

NORTH OGDEN, Utah -- On Tuesday dozens of students from Orion Junior High attended a balloon launch to honor four of their classmates that were involved in a deadly boating accident at Bear Lake on Monday.

Two of the Orion students, Kelsey Capener and Siera Hadley died. The other two, Tiffany Stoker and Tylinn Tilley survived and participated in the launch. All four girls are age 14.

Kelsey Capener’s father Lance, and 7-year-old sister Kilee were also killed in the accident.boating victims

Wife and mother, Kathryn Capener, also survived and is being treated at Logan Regional Hospital.

More than 100 balloons were let into the air next to Pleasant View City Hall. The majority of them were orange because that was Siera's favorite color.

"It's really hard and we're really close I don't want to think it's real," said friend Berlin Anderson.

Attached to each balloon was a Post-it note with a message.

"Well, it's kind of like they all go up to heaven so the balloons go up to them so we write the letters to them," said friend Natalie Stoddard.

The four teens in the accident just finished the seventh grade at Orion Junior High. Earlier on Tuesday, friends put up ribbons for the victims outside the school -- pink for the Capener girls and the orange for Siera.

“Siera’s favorite color is orange so we decided all around the neighborhood and around some of the survivors’ home and around the school we would put orange ribbons for her favorite color,” said friend Chelsea Johnson.

Friends and church members say it's the least they could do to show respect to the victims and their families.

“It's just our way of remembering her and having the community remember her about the impact she had on us and the community as well,” Johnson said.

The news of Siera’s death has devastated her family.

“Obviously our hearts sunk,” said Siera’s uncle Brett Hadley.

Siera's family says she brought light everywhere she went.

“There wasn't a time that I saw Siera where she wasn't happy -- she was very bubbly and always wanted everyone else to be happy,” Hadley said.

Hadley said they're heartbroken.

“We have lots of family and lots of support and obviously in a situation like this when you lose a child it's hard it's unimaginable what they're going through right now,” the uncle said. “We want to extend our love to the Capeners and to all those who were involved with this tragic accident.”

Grief counselors will be on hand at Orion Junior High on Wednesday from 8 a.m. to noon for any students who may need some extra support.

A GoFundMe account was set up to help Siera’s parents with funeral expenses.