Teen Drowns at Utah State Park After Trying to Save Family Member Who Was Eventually Rescued

John Ballan, 18, of Venezuela, "was not able to be rescued" after he went into the water to try to save a family member at Deer Creek State Park in Utah

Deer Creek Reservoir in Utah in State park
Deer Creek State Park. Photo: Getty

An 18-year-old has died at a Utah State Park after attempting to save a family member, who was eventually rescued, from a body of water.

An official news release on the Utah State Parks Blog revealed that the "accidental drowning" occurred Sunday around 4:30 p.m., near the Sailboat Beach area at Deer Creek State Park.

The deceased — John Ballan of Zulia, Venezuela — was on a boat with friends and family members when one of his family members entered the water and "began to struggle to keep their head above the water," park officials said.

"Ballan then jumped into the water to assist the swimmer but also began struggling," they added in the release, published Wednesday.

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View of Deer Creek State Park lake, Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Deer Creek State Park. Getty

"While the air temperature was in the mid-'80s, the surface water temperature was 64 degrees with waves and high winds," park officials said of the weather conditions that day.

They also explained that witnesses on personal watercraft came over to assist Ballan and his family member, who had both been struggling in the water.

"The original family member was successfully rescued and taken to shore. Unfortunately, Ballan was not able to be rescued," the added.

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Officials say neither Ballan nor the family member were wearing a life jacket, and that they "would like to remind everyone that while Utah's outdoors are beautiful places to explore, safety needs to be a top priority."

"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," they add, directing visitors to stateparks.utah.gov.

The incident "remains under investigation," according to officials, who also say they extend their "condolences to Ballan's friends and family impacted by this tragedy."

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