Uintah County divers recover man’s body after track hoe overturns in river

Posted at 6:55 PM, Jul 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-02 20:55:54-04
The scene of a fatal accident in the Green River July 2. Image courtesy Uintah County Sheriff's Office.

The scene of a fatal accident in the Green River July 2. Image courtesy Uintah County Sheriff’s Office.

UINTAH COUNTY, Utah — Divers recovered the body of a man from the almost completely submerged cab of a track hoe that overturned in the Green River near Pelican Lake in Ouray Thursday morning.

According to a press release from the Uintah County Sheriff’s Office, emergency responders were dispatched to the area east of Pelican Lake around 8:27 a.m. on a report that a vehicle was overturned in the Green River. At that time it was not clear if the operator was still inside.

Numerous emergency teams worked to gain access to the almost completely submerged cab of the vehicle, and once inside, divers from Uintah County Search and Rescue located and recovered the body of the operator.

The man has been identified as 61-year-old Keith Haslem of Arcadia.

According to the press release, preliminary investigations indicate Haslem was working as an employee for R. Chapman Construction on a project commissioned by the Uintah Water Conservancy District. Police believe Haslem intentionally drove the track hoe into the water to do the work but the vehicle became unstable and overturned.

It was not clear what caused the vehicle to shift.

According to the press release:  “Sheriff Norton and his staff express their condolences to all those affected by this unfortunate incident. We are very appreciative of the collaborative efforts of the many first responders from BIA, Ute Tribe Ambulance, Gold Cross Ambulance, Uintah County Fire Department, Uintah County Search & Rescue, and Classic Air.”