Keith Johnson, Deseret Morning News
HELPER Josh Seal visited his grandmother, who is sick with cancer, at her home in Helper Sunday afternoon. Josh and his wife, Cortney, brought their children: son Levi, 5; daughter Brookland, 3; and son Jaydan, 1.
"Levi was showing me his new shoes. He was super proud of them," said Josh's cousin, Seth Critchlow. "Jaydan was in an extra delightful, happy mood. They were all playing together."
Just an hour after Seal and his family left the house, Critchlow and Seal's father, Jody Seal, were listening to a police scanner in their house and heard an SUV had been swept away by a 20-foot wall of water in nearby Garley Canyon, between Helper and Price.
"Then we heard a 5- and 1-year-old (were) floating down the river," Critchlow said. "The first thing that went through my mind . . . I thought it was them."
It wasn't until three hours later that the family learned the incident they had been monitoring on the scanner was indeed Josh and his family.
Monday, the search for Jaydan Seal continued along more than 6 miles of the gulch leading to the Price River. Jaydan is presumed to have died in the accident.
His brother, Levi, who was reportedly taken to Primary Children's Medical Center in critical condition, apparently died on Monday. A hospital spokeswoman Monday could not confirm the conditions of either Levi or Brookland, citing federal privacy laws.
But Seal's uncle, Perry Seal, said Monday, "They don't expect (Levi) to live."
The accident Sunday night happened as the family was taking an evening drive along a back road through one of Josh Seal's favorite spots. He had recently moved back to Helper after living several years in Florida, according to family. When the rain started to fall, Seal unbuckled the seat belts of his children just in case the family had to make a quick exit from the car, said Carbon County Sheriff's Capt. Guy Adams.
When a 20-foot wall of water crashed into the older SUV they were driving, the vehicle rolled several times and was carried nearly a mile down the gulch. The children were swept away. The vehicle eventually came to rest on its hood with Levi trapped underneath.
Rescuers had to hike a mile downhill in the mud. Other nearby residents, including two men who lost their ATVs in the same flash flood, all rushed to the SUV to push it off the boy.
"They had to do CPR," Adams said. "There was a lot of mud in his lungs."
The search for Jaydan was hampered Monday by on-and-off thunderstorms. Rain and darkness eventually forced searchers to call off the hunt for the night around 7 p.m. The search is scheduled to resume today at 7 a.m.
Adams said the entire surface of the 6-mile long gulch had been searched with no sign of Jaydan. However, he said it was possible the boy might be buried under 3 to 4 feet of silt.
A total of 80 searchers and five cadaver dogs searched for Jaydan Monday.
Josh and Cortney Seal were at Primary Children's Monday to be with their two other children, although family members said their thoughts were also with Jaydan.
"He's (Josh Seal) devastated," said Jody Seal in tears Monday from Helper. "That little boy was his life. Really good little kids. The littlest one would hardly let go of Josh. He was the same way. That was his little boy."
Jody Seal walked the flooded area himself Monday and found small things from his son's truck, including a tool box and car parts.
He said it would be a nice closure for the family if Jaydan's body could be recovered."(Jaydan) was just a happy kid. He loves to climb on Dad. He's a courageous little guy," Critchlow said. "It's something you never expect . . . never expect to hear. It's like a bad dream come true."
Contributing: Wendy Leonard
Contributing: Wendy Leonard
- Man charged with killing Ogden officer found...
- Provo couple killed in RV accident near St....
- Davis County honor student arrested in deaths...
- Police were watching, listening to Josh and...
- Steven Powell can't go back to his home,...
- 'More questions than answers' as charges...
- Common Core State Standards attract...
- Susan Powell's father wants help searching...
- Chaffetz not willing to take... 70
- Mia Love announces she's officially... 43
- Man charged with killing Ogden officer... 38
- S.L. draws up airport plans 33
- Couples registry gets preliminary nod... 29
- 'We're here to serve all boys,' Utah... 23
- Search for Susan Cox Powell is over,... 21
- Gov. Gary Herbert tells Washington... 17