drowning

VERNAL, Utah — A Uintah County man drowned yesterday after jumping into Red Fleet Reservoir to assist a struggling child, according to the Utah Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Just before 3 p.m., on Wednesday, July 15, 2020, authorities say 34-year-old Dustin Peterson was boating with family and friends in the wakeless area of Red Fleet Reservoir when he jumped from the boat to assist a child from his group who was struggling in the water.

"With Peterson’s assistance, the child was able to be pulled back onto the boat to safety," read a statement from Utah DNR. "However, Peterson was unable to remain afloat and keep his head above water."

Neither Peterson or the child were wearing life jackets at the time of the incident, according to authorities.

Members of Peterson's group called 911 and a Utah Parks law enforcement ranger responded and began the search for Peterson. Additional resources responded and aided in the search efforts including, 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 of Peterson's body resting at approximately 40 feet of water. The Utah State Parks ROV team confirmed the sighting to be that of Peterson’s body and secured the body until the Uintah County Dive Team could located and bring it to the surface.

"The Utah Division of Parks and Recreation would like to extend our condolences to Peterson’s friends and family and thank the other agencies who assisted," continued the statement, in part, from Utah DNR. "This incident remains under investigation at this time."