Teen trying to save another swimmer drowns in Deer Creek

Jun 22, 2022, 4:44 PM
FILE: Deer Creek State Park. (Utah State Parks)...
FILE: Deer Creek State Park. (Utah State Parks)
(Utah State Parks)

DEER CREEK STATE PARK, Utah — An 18-year-old man is dead after drowning in Deer Creek Reservoir Friday after he tried to save another swimmer who was struggling.

John Ballan, of Zulia, Venezuela, was killed in the Utah County recreation area on a visit with friends and family on June 19 according to Utah State Parks.

Ballan was on a boat with others when one of them got in the water for a swim while the boat stopped. The person started to struggle to keep their head above water so Ballan jumped in to help and also started to struggle.

Witnesses arrived on personal watercraft to try to help in the high winds and waves in 64-degree water. Those seeking to help the swimmers were able to rescue the first swimmer and take them to shore but Ballan was not able to be be rescued. Neither of the swimmers were wearing life jackets.

Park rangers were notified about the two swimmers while it was happening at approximately 4:30 p.m. Friday. A team of state and local law enforcement and search and rescue responded to the area to search for Ballan and located his body at approximately 11:30 p.m. the same night.

Utah Division of State Parks issued a reminder that safety should be a top priority while visiting the state’s outdoor areas:

“Always recreate with a buddy, wear your life jackets and helmets, and always let somebody know where you are going and when to expect your return. Checking weather conditions and water temperatures is also vital. To learn more about Utah’s state parks, safety tips, and laws and rules, visit stateparks.utah.gov.”

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Teen trying to save another swimmer drowns in Deer Creek