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After 10 deaths, Lake Powell re-emphasizes safety

By John Hollenhorst | Posted - Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 10:33pm


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LAKE POWELL — In less than a year, 10 people have died at Lake Powell, and the Park Service said it's been enough to re-emphasize their safety message.

Chris Weaver and Pat Horning are on the Lake Powell Dive Team. They are the people who recover bodies. When alarms go off, they swing into action, racing to potential accidents.

The members of the dive team said they have seen way too much death are always on the lookout for people doing unsafe things.

Horning said people often don't understand there are rules and skills necessary to operate boats. They said they spend a lot of their time just warning people to learn the basics of boating, be more careful and follow the rules.

In one instance, they found a young girl was lying over the bow of a boat.

"With a wake and a wave, she could have tumbled out the front," Weaver said. "He may or may not have seen her, could have run over her with the boat."

Lake Powell Rules
Cliff jumping/diving: Prohibited over 15 feet

Fly board/water jet pack: Legal, if used with good sound judgment and due care.

Manta ray/kite tubes: Prohibited

Zip-lining: Prohibited

Rope swinging: Not prohibited, however there are restrictions on climbing and rappelling as well as drilling bolts and creating a hazardous condition. This activity can be stopped and appropriate enforcement action can be taken depending on the circumstances.

Source: Denise Shultz, National Park Service.

Earlier this month, a man was run over and killed by his own boat when it hit a rock, one of ten fatalities since last October. June was particularly grim; six fatalities in 10 days.

There have been 436 fatalities in the park since 1959. Twenty of the deaths that occurred from 2006 to 2010 were water related, and two bodies from that period still have not been recovered.

They said one of the biggest concerns is the crazy stunts they see one YouTube. Cliff-jumping has been banned at Lake Powell for years, at least above 15 feet, but videos of that and other prohibited activities can be found online.

The people who have seen death close-up at Lake Powell said they just wish people would use good judgment.

"They think that it's a free-for-all here, but there has to be order," Horning said. "And without order, we have bad accidents here."

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