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16-year-old drowns after jumping off bridge at popular swimming hole in Lehi

Posted at 11:35 AM, Jul 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-10 16:26:20-04

LEHI, Utah -- Search and rescue teams recovered the body of 16-year-old Cole Merrill early Sunday morning after he drowned in the Jordan River.

He and a group of teens from Alpine had been jumping off the Old Iron Bridge, a popular swimming hole near 3150 West and 1500 North late Saturday night.

"This is kind of a summer hot spot for kids to come out," Sgt. Thayne Call with the Lehi Police Department said.

It is clearly marked with 'No Trespassing' signs though and police patrol it frequently to keep people from swimming there.

Sgt. Call says Merrill did a back flip off the bridge with two friends about 10 feet above the surface of the water.

Two of the boys quickly resurfaced, but Merrill didn't.

His friends told police they saw Merrill come to the surface facing downward, roll over onto his back and sink back beneath the surface of the water.

It took search and rescue teams about four hours to find his body which had traveled 20 feet down the river.

This is the second time someone has died jumping off the bridge according to Sgt. Call.

Sunday morning, Makade Hendrix returned to the bridge where his friend died.

"Cole, he was crazy, he was brave," Hendrix said.  "Like he was willing to do anything."

Holly Cram lives in the area and says her husband grew up jumping off the bridge.

After hearing of the teen's death, she thinks there needs to be a more obvious warning of the dangers.

"I would think a sign that said `No Bridge Jumping: Risk of Death` because that`s true," Cram said.  "You know, now that there`s been two deaths here on this bridge."

A GoFundMe has been set up for the Merrill family and can be found here.