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Arizona Couple Drowns At Deer Creek, 14-Year-Old Has Close Call At Jordanelle

Utah State Parks

  A married couple from Arizona died after an incident at Deer Creek State Park Sunday. There have been numerous drownings at Wasatch Back State Parks recently. 

Around noon, Utah state Park rangers responded to a call at the Deer Creek reservoir about a group of people who were struggling in the water. That’s according to a statement from the Utah Department of Natural Resources.

72-year-old David McMillan was swimming with family off a pontoon boat. While in the water, McMillan and another adult family member started to struggle swimming. 

McMillan’s wife 59-year-old Catherine noticed and jumped in to help. However, she also started to drown. No one in the group was wearing a life jacket. 

Park Rangers and a civilian retrieved the three people, who were facedown in the water and began administering first aid and CPR.

The couple was transported to the hospital but both were pronounced dead. The other family member is expected to recover. 

An investigation into the incident is currently underway.

There was another incident on Sunday at Jordanelle State Park also involving three people. The group was sharing a single floating pool toy when a 14-year-old girl began to struggle to keep her head above the water. She wasn’t wearing a life jacket.

Witnesses on the beach swam out and brought the girl to shore. They began CPR and revived the girl. She was taken to a nearby hospital and later recovered. 

The two incidents come after a 17-year-old boy drowned at Deer Creek Reservoir Thursday and a 37-year-old-man drowned at Pineview Reservoir after swimming behind his son who was using a floating device. Neither of those who drowned were wearing a life jacket.

The state department of natural resources is urging visitors and their children to wear life jackets. It also encourages people to review safety and educational information at state.parks.utah.gov.


Jessica joins KPCW as a general assignment reporter and Sunday Weekend Edition host. A Florida native, she graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in English — concentrating in film studies — and journalism. Before moving to Utah, she spent time in Atlanta, GA.
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