For more than six months, Utah County search and rescue officials have been saying that if an accident were to occur on Utah Lake, the county would not be capable of responding.
The lake's water level is so low that taking a rescue craft on the lake would be too dangerous.But the search and rescue team has been rescued.
Clay Frandsen, owner of Frandsen Recreation Specialists, this week donated two Yamaha Waverunner III's to the Utah County Search and Rescue Team. The motorized water crafts will allow rescuers to reach areas they can't reach with larger boats and to respond to emergencies when the lake's water level is dangerously low.
Last fall the lake's water level dropped so low that state officials had to close the Utah Lake State Park boat ramp, leaving rescue officials with no means of rescuing anyone from the lake.
"This is going to give us the opportunity to meet the concerns that we've expressed earlier," Sheriff Dave Bateman said. "We now have the ability to respond to emergency situations on the lake even with the low water level."
The 20-foot crafts cost about $5,500 each, are capable of traveling 40 mph and carrying three people. Each year Frandsen will replace the crafts with new ones and sell the used ones.
The Waverunners are the second major donation the search and rescue unit has received in the last year. In December, John and Jan Izatt of Clearfield, whose son, Jonathan, died in a fall near Sundance, donated an undisclosed amount of money to the organization.
Because of budget cuts, Lt. Richard Casto, county emergency director, said the group now seeks donations to buy needed equipment and to upgrade equipment that is outdated and unsafe. Most of the equipment used by team members is personally owned. County officials say they are still hoping to obtain a bomb suit through donations.