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Man recalls being stranded in water for 10 hours after deadly boating accident

Posted at 9:44 PM, Jun 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-26 23:44:55-04

NORTH OGDEN, Utah - For ten hours Saturday night, Scott Gorder of Ogden floated in his life jacket waiting for rescue on Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

“The other two guys were hanging on the front of the boat, you know, cause the front of the boat still floated upside down,” said Gorder

Gorder says the wind had come up suddenly, driving the waves from two feet to around eight feet in just a matter of minutes.   He was with two fishing buddies, Lance Heninger of North Ogden and Carson West also of North Ogden.

“In my mind, I was praying the other guys would make it. I knew, I was hoping I would be OK,” said Gorder.

Heninger would not survive the crash.  Gorder’s ordeal was just beginning.

“I’m disabled, I couldn't really get out of the water," he said. "I could have tried, but I knew I couldn’t get up on shore and protect myself from the wind."

Due to a previous traumatic brain injury, Gorder is in a wheelchair.  He uses a motorized reel to continue his passion for fishing and relies on friends like Heninger and West to go out on the water.  Drifting away from the capsized boat, he had only himself to rely on for ten hours while he waited for rescue.

“Nobody ever thinks the waves are going to come up that fast.  I’ve been boating ever since I was 12 years old, and you can’t ever outguess Mother Nature,” said Gorder

He says he stayed calm and watched the sun, then the moon to try and track the hours.  The crash was around 4:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon.  It was hours later friends realized the men had not returned to a family home they were using in Manila.  A search was launched around midnight.  At 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning, search and rescue crews, having already found West, finally pulled Gorder from the water.

“I heard a boat coming…I asked as soon as I got on the boat, what happened to Lance," Gorder said.

Tragically, Lance Heninger would not be saved.  However, Gorder does not believe his friend drowned.  Based on West’s account, he believes Heninger had a heart attack.