Bodies Of Missing Teens Recovered From Utah Lake
SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah – Search crews have located the bodies of two teenage girls that went missing on Utah Lake, according to Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith.
Sophia Hernandez, 17, and 18-year-old Priscilla Bienkowski were reported missing on May 6. Police said they purchased pool toys from a Walmart and went to the Knolls area of the lake.
The teens did not return home from their trip and their belongings were found by a fisherman on the shore that evening.
Officials said winds of up to 40 mph may have factored into their disappearance.
Now on scene at Lincoln Beach awaiting the 7:30 briefing from @UCSO @KSL5TV #KSLTV #Utah https://t.co/vj9E7LhKbJ pic.twitter.com/PctF6xDObf
— Andrew Adams (@AndrewAdamsKSL) May 15, 2020
“When you’re on the water on Utah Lake and it gets really windy, you can’t get off fast enough,” said Sgt. Spencer Cannon with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.
A group of kayakers had to be rescued that Wednesday after one of their kayaks flipped during the severe weather.
“I’ve lived in Utah for a really long time, and I’ve never been on the lake when it’s been windy like that,” Shadow Hulon said. “It felt like I was in the ocean.”
Crews said they located the girls’ tubes two miles south of where they were last seen, but search efforts were hampered by high winds and choppy water throughout the weekend.
The search became a recovery effort on Monday as officials said they believed the girls were likely overcome by swells caused by high winds.
Officials said one body was found by a fisherman on the shore Thursday afternoon. The other body was found near Goshen Bay, about 8.5 miles from where the girls were last seen.
“Our sincere condolences to the families of these two beautiful girls,” Smith said. “This has been hard on everybody involved. I want to thank the families for their patience with us. This has been … stressful on our crews. It’s been hard to locate these young ladies.”
Over 1,000 man-hours were involved in the search through air, ground and water efforts.
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