CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Man dead after drowning at Deer Creek Reservoir

Jun 22, 2022, 8:00 PM | Updated: Dec 29, 2022, 11:31 am
Deer Creek State Park boat ramp closure...
A 18-year-old man drowned at Deer Creek State Park on Sunday, Jun 19, 2022. His body was recovered later that night. Photo credit, Deer Creek State Park.

HEBER CITY, Utah — An 18-year-old man died Sunday following a drowning at Deer Creek Reservoir.

According to a news release from the Utah Division of State Parks, the victim has been identified as John Ballan, of Zulia, Venezuela. He was visiting the reservoir with family and friends.

Accident at Deer Creek Reservoir

According to the news release, the incident took place at roughly 4:30 p.m. Park rangers were notified of an accident that involved two individuals swimming off of a boat near the area of Sailboat Beach.

The news release says that when the boat came to a stop, a family member who was with Ballan jumped into the water for a swim, but soon began to struggle. In an effort to help, Ballan got into the water to help his family member. However, Ballan soon began to struggle, according to the press release. 

Park rangers say neither individual involved in the incident were wearing a life jacket at the time. According to the news release, air temperature at the time was in the 80s, while the water temperature was only 64 degrees. The reservoir also was experiencing waves with high winds at the time.

Witnesses to the accident arrived on a personal watercraft to offer assistance. The family member was safely rescued and taken to shore. However, efforts to rescue to Ballan were unsuccessful.

Body recovered Sunday night

Emergency personnel from Wasatch County arrived on scene a short time later. According to the news release, the body of the victim was recovered Sunday night around 11:30 p.m.

The incident remains under investigation.

The Utah Division of State Parks would like to remind all individuals planning trips to the outdoors this summer to do so safely. They encourage life jackets and helmets be worn. They also encourage people to let others know where they are going and when they should return.

For more information about Utah’s state parks and safety tips, click here

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