Warning signs posted after kneeboarder seen on swift runoff

May 30, 2023, 7:41 PM | Updated: 7:55 pm

Murray kneeboarder...

A citizen snapped a photo of the kneeboarder a week prior to Jackson-Koeven's sighting

MURRAY CITY, Utah – Murray City has posted extra signs and the fire department is warning the community after citizens said they’ve seen a man take advantage of high water in Murray Park in a potentially dangerous way.

On Sunday afternoon, Maranda Jackson-Koeven was leaving the park with her kids when she caught something out of the corner of her eye in Little Cottonwood Creek. She quickly realized it was a young man by himself kneeboarding in the water.

“He was down in the river. He had his ropes up on the fence wakeboarding with his knees down in the river and, seemed to be having a good time,” Jackson-Koeven said.

The kneeboarder also seemed to be alone, she said, which worried her, especially with the high spring runoff.

“My concern was just being out here by himself, should something unfortunate happen that nobody would see or know what was going on or where he was at,” she said.

Another Murray citizen told KSL TV she also saw a man kneeboarding in the same spot a week prior to Jackson-Koeven’s sighting and was also concerned. She took pictures as she went by.

Murray kneeboarder

A citizen snapped a photo of the kneeboarder a week prior to Jackson-Koeven’s sighting

Nick Haskin, Murray City Fire Battalion Chief and Emergency Manager said both creeks that run through Murray Park are approaching flood stage.

“It’s extremely cold, extremely fast. There’s a lot of debris that can catch people up,” Haskin said. Even if someone’s experienced, he explained it’s not a good idea to get in the water.

As the water rises, he said, it comes up into the branches and other vegetation and can cause debris blockages. If someone was caught, they could get swept under the undertow and drown.

“We would hope people would stay out of the water as to not show an example to others, per se, that, ‘Hey, it’s okay to get in the water.'” he said. “It’s not okay. It’s dangerous.”

Murray City Fire will respond if someone needs rescuing, and Haskin said that is a huge activation that takes a lot of resources.

After hearing about the kneeboarder, Haskin explained that the city put some extra signs out in the spot where the man was seen, to keep people away.

Swift current signs 05/30/2023

A new sign sits next to where citizens spotted the kneeboarder. (KSL TV)

Jackson-Koeven said she called dispatch Sunday just in case something happened to the kneeboarder. She hopes others who visit Murray Park take the “stay back” signs seriously.

“It’s summer and school letting out, there’s going to be a lot more kids and families out enjoying the park,” she said, adding, “Be mindful, and stay safe.”

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Warning signs posted after kneeboarder seen on swift runoff