Man drowns in Blacksmith Fork River trying to save sister

Published: Saturday, July 23 2011 10:18 p.m. MDT

HYRUM, Cache County — A 22-year-old man drowned Saturday in the Blacksmith Fork River trying to rescue his teenage sister, who lost her footing and fell into the water during a fishing trip.

Gregory Gray and his 16-year-old sister, Jaycee, were crossing an old spillway when she slipped into the rushing river about 11 a.m., said Cache County sheriff's Lt. Brian Locke. Gregory Gray, of North Ogden, tried but was unable to pull her out and she started floating downstream.

"We think at that point he dove in to help her and never came back up," Locke said.

Jaycee Gray was able to reach the bank and pull herself out of the water. She returned to where they had tried to cross the spillway but was not able to see her brother, he said. She stopped a motorist who was driving out of the canyon and called 911.

Cache County Search and Rescue found Gregory Gray's body in some debris about three-quarters of a mile from where he jumped in. Locke said it is unknown whether he was injured after he jumped or was caught in the undertow of the spillway.

Medical personnel checked Jaycee Gray at the scene and released her to her parents, Steve and Jeri Ann Gray. "Emotionally, she's really upset," Locke said.

Locke said Gregory Gray's parents told him it would not be uncommon for their son to risk his life for anyone. "So it didn't surprise them that he went in after her," he said.

Nor did it surprise the bishop of Gray's LDS Church ward.

"He would do anything for his friends and especially for his family," said Bishop Kyle Andersen.

Gray, he said, was an all-around great guy.

"He had a tremendous sense of humor. Greg loved to laugh. That's why he had so many friends. He was fun to be around," said Andersen, whose son and Gray were lifelong friends.

Gray, who just returned from an LDS mission to Portland, Ore., was a gifted artist. He loved the outdoors and was a talented athlete.

Contributing: Lisa Riley Roche

Email: romboy@desnews.com Twitter: dennisromboy

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