‘He had such an epic life:’ father from Moab dies after saving drowning woman

Jul 12, 2022, 4:50 PM | Updated: Jul 13, 2022, 5:34 am

GRAND COUNTY, Utah — A husband and father from Moab who saved a woman from drowning in the Colorado River has died.

According to the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, the body of Clay Petty, 53, was found just over a mile downstream from where he jumped in.

He had been missing since Sunday afternoon. His daughter told KSL TV he had lost his footing, or something went wrong after he saved a 63-year-old woman’s life from drowning.

Tenika Dawn is a very close family friend of the family and has been in touch with them throughout the search.

“This can’t be where Clay’s story ends. He had such an epic life. This can’t be how it ends,” an emotional Dawn said. “He’s one of the strongest, most determined people you’ll ever meet. And no matter what kind of situation he was in, ever gotten into, he was able to get out of it and make it look easy.”

That’s why Dawn like the rest of the family was holding out hope to the very end that he somehow made it to shore alive downstream and just needed to be rescued.

“I just can’t imagine, I can’t imagine him not being here anymore,” said Dawn, who was not surprised by the way he died. Saying he died a hero. “I could see him totally, you know, throwing himself into a disaster scenario to save someone else from it. That’s Clay. That’s who he was.”

A GoFundMe* has been set up to help the family with search and funeral expenses.

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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‘He had such an epic life:’ father from Moab dies after saving drowning woman