Search and Rescue looking for 2 missing teens on Utah Lake

May 7, 2020, 5:34 AM | Updated: 4:54 pm
Utah River Council...
Photo Derek Petersen KSLTV

UTAH COUNTY, Utah — Search and Rescue teams are out on Utah Lake Thursday looking for two missing teens. Police say the young women failed to return home from tubing on the lake.

Call about missing teens

Sergeant Spencer Cannon from the Utah County Sheriff’s Office says they first received a call at 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday about the missing girls. He has identified them as 18-year-old Priscilla Bienkowski and 17-year-old Sophia Hernandez.

Priscilla Bienkowski, 18. Photo courtesy Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

Sophia Hernandez, 17. Photo courtesy Utah County Sheriff’s Office


Both girls are from the Saratoga Springs-area.


Cannon says that a number of personal items belonging to the girls were located along the shoreline near SR-68. Those items included a cell phone, car keys and the vehicle they initially left in. 

They also found the two “pool tubes” the girls were reportedly using. One was found washed up along the shoreline, while the other had drifted out into the lake. Cops believe both were still inflated when they found them.



Search and rescue teams are basing their headquarters at Lincoln Beach Marina. That location is on southeastern shoreline, which is a few miles away from where the tubes were found. Crews say the marina provides them the best opportunity to park large vehicles, ground helicopters and get bodies into the water.

Continuing the search

Crews officially continued their search for the missing teens at 7:30 a.m. Thursday.

Seargent Cannon says violent winds last night made for treacherous conditions.

“When you’re on the water on Utah Lake and it gets really windy… you can’t get off fast enough,” he says. “If somebody was out there in conditions like this, our recommendation would be to get off.”

As crews are venturing onto the lake to continue their search, the water temperature is still hovering around 57 degrees.

A Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter is assisting in the search. A Utah State Parks boat with side-scan sonar is on location. At this time, officials aren’t deploying it due to high winds. 

Trouble on the water

Even those with years of experience, are calling the conditions last night “rare.”

Jay Gold is a veteran kite boarder with eight to nine years under his belt. He was out with a group of about twenty friends last night on Utah Lake. He says they started around 4 p.m. and approximately four hours later the conditions started to change.

“The swells were one second apart,” he explains. “That’s why I had to ditch my gear. By the time I recovered from one, the next one just clobbered me.”

He was back at the lake Thursday morning hoping to rediscover the gear he tossed aside the night prior. According to him, the wind gusts were extraordinary.

“I don’t know… 55 [or] 60 miles per hour,” he says. “Yeah, it’s kind of rare.”

He says since the lake is relatively shallow, strong wind gusts can create big waves with very little separation. The exact conditions last night that forced him to bail all his gear.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Mountain America Credit Union will pick 
 up the tab for the adoption of all larger dogs this weeke...
Mark Jackson

Credit union picking up tab this weekend for adoption of larger dogs

Mountain America Credit Union will pick up the fees for the adoption of all larger dogs from Friday, Feb. 3 through Sunday, Feb. 5.
5 hours ago
Salt Lake City Police have arrested two people in connection to a fatal shooting on Wednesday, Feb....
Mark Jones

SLCPD arrest two people in connection to a Wednesday shooting

Two people have been arrested in connection to a Wednesday shooting, according to Salt Lake City Police. The victim, a 35-year-old, died at the hospital.
1 day ago
Utah 2022 legislative session...
Mark Jones

Bill would require buildings to post signs for events meant for adults

One Utah lawmaker is proposing a bill that would require signs be posted on public buildings that will be hosting events meant for adults.
1 day ago
Multiple dollar bills are pictured, social security will see a bump...
Mark Jones

Eyeing retirement: How much money is enough after you leave a job?

How do you know when it's time to leave a job or if you'll have enough for retirement? Dave and Dujanovic talk to a financial planner about this important question.
1 day ago
Salt Lake City Police are investigating a fatal stabbing at the Palmer Court Apartments on Thursday...
Mark Jones

One person dead following a stabbing in Salt Lake City suspect still at large

One person died following a stabbing in Salt Lake City on Thursday afternoon, according to Salt Lake City Police. Police are still searching for a suspect.
1 day ago
UDOT crews fill potholes...
Devin Oldroyd

UDOT uses public’s help locating potholes

UDOT spokesperson John Gleason says the department is monitoring where the potholes are, thanks in large part to the public.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Search and Rescue looking for 2 missing teens on Utah Lake