The shocking incident unfolded on Sunday, June 19, around 4:30 p.m., near the Sailboat Beach area at Deer Creek State Park.
An 18-year-old tragically died at a Utah State Park after risking his life to save a family member who was later rescued from the water. According to the official news release posted on the Utah State Parks Blog, it was an "accidental drowning" that resulted in the death of John Ballan of Zulia, Venezuela.
The shocking incident unfolded on Sunday, June 19, around 4:30 p.m., near the Sailboat Beach area at Deer Creek State Park. Ballan was reportedly on a boat with his friends and family members when someone from his family entered the water. When they "began to struggle to keep their head above the water," Ballan "jumped into the water to assist the swimmer but also began struggling," revealed park officials, according to PEOPLE.
Al too often family members drown while trying to save their loved ones. Please wear a lifejacket and throw something that floats to persons in distress. https://t.co/W6OHO1LNXD— DeRosa Aquatic Consulting (@DeRosaAquatics) June 26, 2022
Seeing them struggle, witnesses on personal watercraft arrived at the spot to assist Ballan and his family member, both of whom had been struggling in the water. While they managed to rescue the first swimmer and bring him to shore, Ballan could not be saved. "The original family member was successfully rescued and taken to shore. Unfortunately, Ballan was not able to be rescued," the officials added.
Neither Ballan nor his rescued family member was wearing a life jacket, said officials who "would like to remind everyone that while Utah's outdoors are beautiful places to explore, safety needs to be a top priority." Directing visitors to stateparks.utah.gov, they added, "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."
A teen visiting Utah died in Deer Creek Reservoir while trying to help a struggling swimmer. 😢https://t.co/IJ4jvQ5jGk— KSL 5 TV (@KSL5TV) June 22, 2022
Speaking about the weather condition on the day Ballan lost his life, they shared, "While the air temperature was in the mid-'80s, the surface water temperature was 64 degrees with waves and high winds." On the day of the incident, a team of state and local law enforcement and search and rescue was called to the area to search for Ballan's body, reports KSLTV.
At approximately 11:30 p.m. that night, they managed to locate his body. The circumstances surrounding the teenager's death currently "remains under investigation" and officials have since extended their "condolences to Ballan's friends and family impacted by this tragedy."
Cover image source: YouTube Screenshot | Fox13