Boaters rescued from Utah Lake during Friday storm after boats take on water

Published: Friday, July 5 2013 11:55 p.m. MDT

A storm cell over Utah County passed directly over Utah Lake, seen in this 2003 file photo, just before 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 5, 2013, making for a tense situation on the water.

Stuart Johnson, Deseret News

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SPANISH FORK — A storm cell over Utah County passed directly over Utah Lake just before 6:30 p.m. Friday, making for a tense situation on the water.

Two boats didn't make it off the lake before rain and 60 mph winds hit, and they started taking on water.

"One of the boats got a rope wrapped around the (propeller), and another boat came into help," Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon said. "The rope that was in the water from the first boat got tangled around the (propeller) of the second boat."

Riley Meason, of Springville, was in the second boat and worked to help those in the first boat. There were children in the first boat, he said.

"We were trying to get those kids off the water," Meason said. "Everybody was freaking out. We were trying to keep everybody calm. It was just the most intense thing I've ever seen in my life."

Winds came in from the west, reaching speeds of 60 mph. Boats trying to reach American Fork Harbor had to wait before they could get off the water because the winds were too strong to bring them into the marina.

But to the south, on Lincoln Beach, there was no getting to a marina.

"The rain was so bad," Meason said. "The rain was hitting your face. It felt like bullets hitting your face. … The storm was so bad, there were waves over the boat. Their boat was sinking."

One of the rescuers called 911, and Utah County sheriff's deputies arrived by boat from Provo Harbor within minutes. Other sheriff's officials on jet skis brought the stranded boaters to shore.

"A lot of things went well here," Cannon said. "It was a quick storm, they had life jackets, they were in shallow water, and they were able to get out."

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