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Bystanders rescue paddleboarder from drowning in Echo Reservoir

People recreate on Echo Reservoir June 8, 2024.
Parker Malatesta
People recreate on Echo Reservoir June 8, 2024.

Utah State Parks officials say a paddleboarder knocked over by a sudden wind storm nearly drowned Sunday.

Rangers responded to a potential drowning at the reservoir around 6:45 p.m. June 9.

Echo State Park Manager Cade Pies said the high winds blew in that afternoon. Weather Underground recorded gusts of up to 43 mph at Salt Lake International Airport beginning at 6 p.m.

People on the shore saw the wind knock three people off their boards and called 911. None were wearing life jackets.

“Two of the individuals were able to swim back to shore,” Pies said. “While swimming back to the shore, a third individual became overexerted from swimming and grabbed on to a buoy that was in the reservoir.”

Pies said the 33 year old man bobbed up and down in the storm and inhaled some water. The bystanders grabbed flotation devices, swam out to him and brought him back to shore.

The North Summit Fire District also responded, treated the man for drowning symptoms and took him to Park City Hospital.

“We always want people to bring a lifejacket, first and foremost, whenever they're on any watercraft or doing any type of activity on our reservoirs are water bodies,” Pies recommended.

The park manager said it was lucky that bystanders saw what happened June 9 and responded so quickly, otherwise a bad situation could have gotten worse.