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Man dies while aiding child at Red Fleet State Park near Vernal

Posted at 11:00 AM, Jul 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 13:00:26-04

RED FLEET STATE PARK, Utah — A 34-year-old Uintah County man is dead following an incident at Red Fleet State Park Wednesday, according to Lt. Brody Young with the Southeast Region of Utah State Parks.

Just before 3 p.m., Dustin Peterson was boating with family and friends in the wakeless area of Red Fleet Reservoir.

While there, a child in Peterson’s group began to struggle in the water. Peterson jumped from the boat into the water to aid the child. Neither individual was wearing a life jacket. With Peterson’s assistance, the child was able to be pulled back onto the boat to safety. However, Peterson was unable to remain afloat and keep his head above water.

Members of his group called for help and a Utah State Parks law enforcement ranger responded to the area quickly and began the search for Peterson.

Search efforts were aided by Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Uintah County Sheriff’s office and Search and Rescue, Utah Division of Parks and Recreation Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Team, Department of Public Safety (DPS) Dive Team.

Around 10 p.m., the DPS Dive Team identified a possible sighting and the Utah State Parks ROV team confirmed the sighting to be that of Peterson’s body.

The body was resting in approximately 40 feet of water. The ROV team secured the body until the Uintah County Dive Team could locate and bring it to the surface.

In a news release, the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation extended condolences to Peterson’s friends and family and thanked the other agencies who assisted.

This incident remains under investigation at this time.