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Arizona teen dies from drowning in Piute County river

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OTTER CREEK RESERVOIR, Piute County — A 17-year-old Arizona boy died after drowning while attending a family reunion Saturday afternoon, police said.

Emergency crews were dispatched to a report of a possible drowning at about 2:30 p.m., according to Piute County sheriff’s deputy Matt Whittaker.

Whittaker said the boy, identified as Chase Leroy Clark, of Kingman, Arizona, was playing in a river by the reservoir dam with other individuals when he apparently stuck his feet into a whirlpool close to a culvert that ran underneath a nearby roadway and “was pulled in by the strong current.”

Bystanders and family of the boy on scene attempted to free him from the entering the culvert, but were unable to.

"Eventually, he slipped under the water and went through the culvert, came out the other side and never resurfaced," Whittaker said.

Efforts to revive him once he was pulled out of the water were unsuccessful, Whittaker added.

About 30 people were in the area at the time of the incident, Whittaker said. Many of those were family members of the boy, who were having a family reunion at nearby Otter Creek State Park. However, bystanders also jumped in to attempt to save the boy, according to Whittaker.

"It was a great effort," he said.

Whittaker advised that individuals should be careful while playing near culverts because of the water current around them.

"There is a lot of pressure when water goes through a culvert like that," he said. "Just stay away from those kinds of situations and not even risk it."

Contributing: Geoffrey Thatcher


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