LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah -- Snowbird employee, David Pepper, nearly drowned while working after his ATV crashed off a cliff into a creek. He was rushed to the hospital, but died from his injuries just hours later.
“We think it’s anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours he may have been in the river,” said Det. Ken Hansen, spokesman for Unified Police Department.
Detectives say Pepper, 21, was driving a utility vehicle at Snowbird when for an unknown reason he crashed down a steep slope into Little Cottonwood Canyon creek.
“The vehicle went down on its top and he left the vehicle at some point and was down in the very cold water,” Hansen said.
No one knew Pepper had crashed and was in danger. But after a while when none of his coworkers knew where he went they got worried.
“They hadn’t heard from him so they started looking for him and that’s when they found the vehicle down in the river,” Hansen said.
Snowbird ski patrol scaled down the cliff into the creek. Fifty yards away from the vehicle they found Pepper in the near freezing water.
Ski patrol brought him up the steep incline and started performing CPR.
“The hypothermia slows the body down doesn’t need as much oxygen so hoping that it’s a benefit for this particular person,” Hansen said.
But Pepper passed away hours after he got to the hospital. Snowbird President Bob Bonar released the following statement:
"The Snowbird family is heartbroken at the passing of one of our fellow employees today. We extend our condolences to his family as his many friends here at Snowbird."
Pepper’s friends expressed their condolences on Facebook.
Daniel Artz wrote, “Rest in peace David Pepper you will be truly missed. You always found a way to make everybody laugh bro.”
Whitney Curtis noted, “I'm in utter shock right now. David Pepper was truly one of my friends and always knew how to brighten my day.”
Alexi Anglin posted, “You never think someone so close to home will die so young.”