Apparent drowning claims Wyoming man at Flaming Gorge

Published: Tuesday, June 4 2013 9:10 a.m. MDT

A Rock Springs man died Sunday at Flaming Gorge Reservoir. Investigators believe the man drowned.

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ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. — Authorities are investigating the death of a Rock Springs man who apparently drowned at Flaming Gorge Reservoir while trying to retrieve his boat Sunday.

Connie Koritnik told investigators she and Mitch Hunt were boating Sunday when they decided to beach their craft south of Firehole Canyon in the bay at Sage Creek, according to detective Dick Blust Jr. with the Sweetwater County Sheriff's Office in Wyoming.

The wind came up and pushed the boat into the bay, Koritnik told deputies, so Hunt tried to swim to the boat to retrieve it.

When Hunt, 49, began struggling, Koritnik said she began to swim to him. He went under water before she could reach him, Blust said.

A medical helicopter and an ambulance were called to the reservoir. The helicopter crew spotted Hunt beneath the surface and a flight paramedic stepped out onto the helicopter's skids to point to the location.

Rescuers on shore tied a rope around a paramedic, who swam out to the spot and recovered Hunt's body in 8 feet of water, Blust said.

Efforts to revive Hunt were unsuccessful. An autopsy was pending Tuesday morning, but Blust said the apparent cause of death is drowning. No foul play is suspected, he said.

Hunt is the second Wyoming resident in little more than a month to die at Flaming Gorge.

On May 3, searchers on the Utah side of the reservoir pulled the body of Danny Angelo Durante from the water.

Durante, 46, was reported missing April 28, after a group of boaters found his boat partially submerged in the Jug Hollow area of Flaming Gorge.

Daggett County sheriff's investigators believe Durante was in the boat alone when it capsized, possibly due to high winds. He was not wearing a life jacket when his body was found about 100 feet from where searchers located his sunken boat.

Email: gliesik@deseretnews.com, Twitter: GeoffLiesik

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