12-year-old boy dies after falling into Provo River near Bridal Veil Falls

Jun 8, 2024, 2:28 PM | Updated: Jun 11, 2024, 9:50 am

PROVO — A 12-year-old boy, Finnley Udall, fell into the Provo River Saturday afternoon near Bridal Veil Falls and later died, according to the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

Utah County Search and Rescue was called out around 1:45 p.m. after witnesses reported a child had fallen into the river. Finnley’s mother, Lyndsay Udall posted on social media, giving “heartfelt thanks” to the bystanders and first responders positioned along the raging river.

Finnley and his family are from Arizona and were visiting family in Utah. Lyndsay Udall said her son had an unwitnessed fall into the water shortly after the family arrived at Bridal Veil Falls for a hike.


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A post shared by Lyndsay Udall (@reddstarr45)

Finnley was spotted at several locations coming down the river, according to Sgt. Garrett Dutson, with the UCSO.

At roughly 800 North and University Avenue in Orem, an Orem swift-water rescue firefighter jumped into the water and was able to grab him. Finnley was pulled out of the water four miles downstream.

Once the boy was on shore, he was transported by ambulance to an area hospital, where officials say he died.

Lyndsay Udall wrote that her son, “died how he lived his life, just skating on the edge of danger and loving every minute of it.”

One search and rescue team member was also taken to the hospital with rope burns to his hands.

Sgt. Spencer Cannon with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said given how dangerous the conditions are, he recommends people avoid the area until later summer.

“It might seem really enticing to sit down and dip your feet in the water or even go wading in the water in some places, but we have to understand what the risks are and the risks are not fabricated,” he said. “They are very, very real. And the conditions there right now are treacherous.”

He said some bystanders jumped into the water to try and help, but that often adds more of a risk to an ongoing search and rescue operation. He said, fortunately, they were able to make it back to shore.

“When someone either intentionally gets too close or accidentally gets too close and they fall in, they can be in the water and being pulled down before they have time to even recognize what’s happening,” Cannon said. “That’s not hyperbole. That’s reality.”

Cannon said the dozens of rescuers who worked to save the boy were devastated when they saw the state he was in once he was finally pulled from the water.

“There were a lot of a lot of glum faces that day, and it’s going to hang on to people for a while,” he said.

Contributing: Mary Culbertson

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12-year-old boy dies after falling into Provo River near Bridal Veil Falls