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Teen drowns trying to save family member at Deer Creek State Park

Posted at 4:42 PM, Jun 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-22 18:42:04-04

WASATCH COUNTY, Utah — An 18-year-old man from Venezuela died after drowning at Deer Creek State Park on Sunday.

John Ballan of Zulia, Venezuela was visiting the reservoir with friends and family when he drowned trying to help a family member who was struggling in the water.

Officials with Utah State Parks reported that at 4:30 p.m., park rangers responded to an incident involving two people swimming near the Sailboat Beach area.

The boat that the individuals were in stopped and one of Ballan's family members got into the water to swim. At one point, the family member was struggling to keep their head above the water and Ballan jumped in to help.

Witnesses saw what was happening and went over to help Ballan and the family member. The family member was successfully rescued and taken to land. Ballan was not able to be rescued.

Rescue teams responded to the area soon after the call and began searching for Ballan. His body was recovered at 11:30 Sunday night.

Neither Ballan nor the family member was wearing a life jacket, officials reported.

State Park officials explained that while the air temperature was in the mid 80's, the water temperature was 64 degrees with waves and high winds, which may have contributed to the incident.

"With the recreation season now underway, Utah State Parks would like to remind everyone that while Utah’s outdoors are beautiful places to explore, safety needs to be a top priority," officials said in a statement. "Always recreate with a buddy, wear your life jackets and helmets, and always let somebody know where you are going and when to expect your return. Checking weather conditions and water temperatures is also vital."

An investigation into the drowning is underway.