Search Underway For 2 Teens Who Went Missing At Utah Lake
SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah – Search and rescue efforts were underway for two missing teens, ages 17 and 18, after they failed to return from a day of tubing on Utah Lake.
Authorities have identified the girls as Priscilla Bienkowski, 18, and Sophia Hernandez, 17. Both are residents of Saratoga Springs.
Sgt. Spencer Cannon with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said the two girls went out on the lake Wednesday with inflatable pool toys. The two did not return home.
One of the girls’ phones was recovered from the shore near the Knolls area of the lake. A passerby heard the phone ringing and answered it. The phone call was coming from the girl’s mother, authorities said. When the person on the shore told her he’d found the phone, the girl’s mother called the police.
— Felicia Martinez (@FeliciaKSL) May 7, 2020
Cannon said searchers found one of the teens’ inflatable pool toys in the reeds along the shoreline. The other pool toy was discovered further out on the lake.
Rescuers are concerned winds of up to 60 miles per hour may have played a factor in the teens’ disappearance. The water temperature is in the 50s.
“When you’re on the water on Utah Lake and it gets really windy, you can’t get off fast enough,” Cannon said.
The Department of Public Safety helicopter searched for the girls until approximately 3 a.m. Thursday. They resumed their search Thursday morning at approximately 7:30 a.m.
It’s the second incident on the lake in 24 hours. Three kayakers were rescued Wednesday evening after forceful winds picked up and stranded them on the lake.
Rescuers were able to get the group out of the water.
— Shara Park (@KSLSharaPark) May 7, 2020
Cannon said Utah State Parks boats will continue the search on Utah Lake throughout the night. Search and rescue crews and other resources will return Thursday morning to continue the search.
Officials said high winds continued to play a factor in search efforts Thursday and prevented crews from using a boat with better underwater searching capabilities. They hoped winds would die down overnight or early Friday morning.
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