WILLARD BAY STATE PARK — Searchers have recovered the body of 32-year-old Brigham Bradley who disappeared during a personal watercraft outing Friday afternoon.
Search crews found Bradley's body shortly after 5 p.m., according to Utah State Parks spokesman Eugene Swalberg.
"He was located in the area where he was last seen boating on a personal watercraft. Using side-scan sonar technology, Box Elder County, in cooperation with Utah State Park rangers, located the victim in just under 10 feet of water," a news release said.
Bradley was a corrections officer for the Weber County Sheriff's Office.
Bradley was off duty and riding with friends Friday afternoon when the personal watercraft he was riding broke down. His friends left him on the disabled watercraft for about 10 minutes while they arranged a tow.
When they returned to the watercraft, there was no sign of Bradley. He was not wearing a life jacket, park rangers said. Search crews worked until dark, scouring the shoreline and the surface of the bay attempting to locate Bradley, Swalberg said.
The recovery operation resumed at 7 a.m. Saturday, led by Utah State Parks officers and assisted by the Utah Highway Patrol, search and rescue teams from Box Elder County, Weber County and Utah County, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Search teams started their work from Bradley's last known location and employed a search pattern to conduct "a more methodical search for the victim," Swalberg said.
Weber County Sheriff's Lt. Mark Lowther said the cause of the incident is not known, but a strong storm had blown through the area around the same time that Bradley was reported missing Friday afternoon.
Bradley may have been knocked off the watercraft by 3-foot waves and was unable to return to it because of the waves and the storm, Lowther said, adding, "but that's just me speculating."4 comments on this story
In addition to his work as a corrections officer for Weber County, Bradley also was a firefighter/EMT for Syracuse.
Bradley's family was at the search site throughout the ordeal, Lowther said.
"They are obviously devastated with their loss, but they're extremely grateful we were able to recover him, bring him home, so to speak," he said.
Because Bradley was a fellow Weber County officer, the incident hit close to home, Lowther said.
"We put our best effort into every search we do. Obviously when we know the person we are looking for, it does add that personal element to it," he said.
Contributing: Nkoyo Iyamba