LOCAL NEWS

Video shows rescue of family trapped by flood waters in Southern Utah

Mar 16, 2023, 6:39 PM | Updated: Apr 17, 2023, 4:18 pm

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah – A Florida family with three young children was trapped by flash flooding in Snow Canyon State Park Wednesday afternoon after a dry wash quickly turned into a raging river.

Luckily, a bystander saw the out-of-town family—with children ages two, four and six—head out on their hike before the floodwaters started to flow. He called for help around 4:30 p.m. once he saw the river form.

“Within five to ten minutes that whole thing went from dry to raging,” said Cody Ballantyne with Washington County Search and Rescue.

Ballantyne describes the rescue as daring and complicated and also a race against time because of the rain, cold temperatures and rising waters.

“The kids were all really cold, shivering uncontrollably, so we were just really worried about them,”  Ballantyne, who is the assistant commander of high-angle rescue team said.

Once rescue crews arrived on scene, they quickly noticed another danger: a large waterfall just downstream from the family that Ballantyne estimated to be a 50 foot drop.

“Anyone that went over that falls it was certain death,” he said. “So we were well aware of that danger.”

The team moved upriver from the waterfall and placed several safety teams in the water in case anyone got swept away. They then went to work to rescue the family.

“We brought blankets across and we started to warm them up, talk to them, console them, be there for them,” Andy Rushton, the assistant commander of swift water rescue team said.

Rushton said the family did everything right by waiting for help because the rushing waters even knocked him and one other rescuer off their feet as they crossed the swift rapids.

“We’re getting pushed downstream 10, 15, 20 feet,” he said. “If that father would have tried to carry his 2-year-old, 4-year-old, and 6-year-old across there was no way it was going to have a good ending to that story.”

Ballantyne and Rushton said rescuers took the mom across first so that the kids would have a parent on each side. They then tried to make it seem like an adventure for the kids so that they wouldn’t be afraid.

“The team pulled me across and brought me the four-year-old female,” Ballantyne explained. “She was really cold, shivering, and really nervous.”

The rescue team made sure that as they transported the children that they didn’t even touch the raging waters below them.

“It was special for me because I do have a daughter that same age and so just holding her and getting her across,” Ballantyne said. “It kind of took on like it was my own child and just wanted to keep her safe and want to hold her close.”

The rescue operation was successful and everyone was carried to safety. The all-volunteer team said it was a proud moment to help a family in need and that they felt like all their hard training paid off.

The search and rescue team said spring break season is a very busy time for them and they remind those visiting Southern Utah to always be aware of the potential for flash flooding.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

(Steve Griffin, Deseret News)...

Carlysle Price

Juvenile died after crashing motorcycle in West Jordan

A juvenile died Saturday morning after appearing to have lost control of their motorcycle.

2 hours ago

A Utah mountain biker is recalling the moments when a family of badgers approached him at Corner Ca...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Mountain biker recounts aggressive badger standoff in Draper

A mountain biker is recounting a tense standoff with a family of badgers, who got so aggressive they nearly forced him off the trail.

13 hours ago

A hiking trail in Utah County....

Andrew Adams

Rescuers prepare for what could be a busy Memorial Day weekend

Search and rescue crews are getting ready for a potentially busy Memorial Day weekend as they are urging people to prepare for the elements.

14 hours ago

Leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints attended meetings in Ecuador and Colum...

Carlysle Price

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donates $3.4 million to Project HOPE

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated $3.4 million to Project HOPE to aid vulnerable populations in Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. 

16 hours ago

The Unified police car that crashed into the suspect's yellow car....

Michael Houck and Lauren Steinbrecher, KSL TV

Unified police officer hospitalized after being hit by suspect, second officer and suspect also hospitalized

A Unified police officer was hospitalized after being hit by a suspect's truck on Friday, police say.

16 hours ago

Marcus Wilson preforming at the Olympic Oval in Kearns to a group of people....

Peter Rosen

Buskering at Buskerfest

If you're downtown this weekend, you might see a unicycling unicorn. It's not a hallucination, it's Buskerfest. A celebration of street performers.

17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Video shows rescue of family trapped by flood waters in Southern Utah