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Drowning victim at Deer Creek State Park identified

The incident remains under investigation
File Photo: Deer Creek State Park / Deer Creek Reservoir
Posted at 10:03 AM, Jul 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-09 19:17:39-04

DEER CREEK STATE PARK, Utah — State park officials have released the name of a Salt Lake County man who died in a drowning incident at Deer Creek State Park on Saturday.

According to a statement released by the Utah Department of Natural Resources Sunday morning, Randall Fern, 69, of Salt Lake County had been canoeing with his family when, just after noon, their boats became swamped with water and subsequently capsized. Unable to right their canoes, the group attempted to swim to the shore.

15 feet from the shore, Fern began to struggle to stay afloat. According to the statement, he was not wearing a life jacket. A passerby was able to pull him onto their boat and get him to the reservoir's boat ramp.

State Park rangers and members of the Wasatch County Sheriff's office arrived on scene and attempted to revive Fern before pronouncing him dead at the scene.

"Utah State Parks expresses our condolences to Fern’s friends and family," the statement reads. "We would also like to remind those who are venturing into the outdoors to always stay on guard and to make safety a top priority. Always remember to wear a properly fitting U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Recreate within your ability and set a good example for other recreators and children around you."