Florida man dies in kayaking accident in Provo River

Jul 3, 2018, 10:20 PM | Updated: 10:58 pm

HEBER CITY, Utah – A man from Florida died in the Provo River Tuesday when his kayak overturned as he was trying to navigate going through a bridge.

A fisherman saw the accident and called 911. Wasatch County Search and Rescue teams spent more than an hour trying to get the man out. The victim has not been identified and is in his 50s.

The Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office said the man was kayaking the river with four other people from Florida and everyone else in the group had gotten to the side and walked around the bridge. The victim was the last one in the group and couldn’t make it to the side in time.

“Unfortunately, this gentleman overturned right at the bridge and the current, the strength of the water kept him under one of the trestles of the bridge,” said Deputy Chief Jared Rigby with Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputy Chief Rigby said the group did everything right. They were all wearing life jackets and made a plan for kayaking the river.

“It’s just there are some things that are unknown,” Rigby said.

Divers from North Fork and Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office were in the water trying to get the man free from the current.

“The current was so strong that he was really caught up underneath,” Rigby says.

The group the victim was with saw the commotion but didn’t know what was happening until they were later met by deputies.

“They’re devastated – they’re absolutely devastated,” Rigby said. “They’re here trying to have fun and to enjoy each other’s company and for this to happen, it’s just tragic.”

The Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office advises anyone using waterways this week to be safe and prepared.

“We want to enjoy the areas where we recreate and so whether it’s some reservoir or lake, or we’re going out to hike, we need to understand the safety precautions, what the biggest dangers are,” Rigby said.

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Florida man dies in kayaking accident in Provo River