A 16-year-old Uintah County boy is in critical condition at a Salt Lake-area hospital following a near drowning in an irrigation canal.
Uintah County Sheriff's Lt. John Laursen said it appeared that Ryan K. O'Driscoll of Tridell and another juvenile were swimming on Wednesday afternoon in a canal that feeds Steinaker Reservoir after sliding down a concrete flume.
Laursen said O'Driscoll was caught in an undertow and was unable to free himself. Attempts by the other juvenile to pull O'Driscoll from the water led to that youth being pulled under and almost drowning. Employees of the Uintah Water Conservancy District heard screams for help and responded from the head gate of the canal. Laursen said while one employee returned to the head gate to slow the water flow, another entered the water, and a third employee held on to a rope securing the employee in the water.
The employee in the water pulled the second teen out of the water to the canal bank, then returned to the water and was able to rescue O'Driscoll. Water district employees started CPR on O'Driscoll, who was transported to Ashley Valley Medical Center in Vernal before being flown to Salt Lake for further treatment.
Laursen said this is the second near-drowning incident in Uintah County in recent weeks.