PLEASANT VIEW, Utah — Tylinn Tilley and Tiffany Stoker say their survival in the frigid waters of Bear Lake was a miracle.
On June 1, the teens were boating with their friends Kelsey Capener and her family along with Siera Hadley when a fast-moving storm capsized their boat. All of them were wearing life jackets.
Kelsey and Siera didn’t survive. Their friend’s dad Lance Capener and 7-year-old sister Kilee also died.
Capener’s wife, Kathryn, did survive the accident.
On Tuesday, Tiffany and Tylinn talked about what happened that night.
“We hit three big waves and then the water just came in and it just piled on top of us,” Tylinn said. “We were all kind of gasping for air.”
Tiffany said they would keep a prayer in their heart.
“Just keep having faith and little miracles would pop up,” Tiffany said.
The girls said Lance Capener did everything he could to keep everyone together. But as time wore on and the waves got more intense, the girls drifted away from the boat.
At that time, Kelsey and Siera stayed with Tylinn and Tiffany.
“We said a little prayer and we started singing “I am a Child of God” and then that’s when Siera was like, ‘we need to start swimming.’ She started freaking out,” Tiffany said.
Kelsey and Siera headed back to the boat, and Tiffany and Tylinn tried swimming to shore.
The teens focused on a road they saw in a distance, praying they were getting close.
“We would watch that and we would watch it get a little bit bigger but then once we’d get tired we just kinda tried to back pedal and try to keep ourselves in the same spot but the waves were too big,” Tiffany said.
The girls held tight to each other even as the waves battered them.
“Me and Tiffany we were like screaming prayers out to each other because we can’t hear each other even holding onto each other,” Tylinn said.
Rescuers eventually heard their pleas for help.
“The rescue boat came pass and we were screaming and yelling and actually so excited to see them,” Tylinn said. “They said we were holding onto each other with one arm and swimming with the other. They said we were the best synchronized swimming people ever.”
The girls call themselves sisters now. They’ve forged a strong bond they say is unbreakable.
But they vow to always remember those they lost that fateful day.
“It’s depressing that they’re gone but you know they’re in a better place and that they’re safe and they’re happy,” Tylinn said.
Moving forward, they are counting their blessings.
“Heavenly Father does answer prayers and you can get through rough times and there is always the sunrise and the sunset that is so beautiful and there are good things that are coming ahead,” Tiffany said.